Anticipation Builds Among Locals for End of Rt. 26 Construction - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Anticipation Builds Among Locals for End of Rt. 26 Construction

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

MILLVILLE, Del. -- Locals in the vicinity of Route 26 in Sussex County anticipate the end of major roadway construction that's been happening in the area for nearly two years.

The Delaware Department of Transportation launched the construction program on Route 26, also known as Atlantic Ave., in the fall of 2013. The improvements focus on widening a four-mile stretch of the road's travel lanes, left turn lanes, shoulder space and traffic lights.

Four miles may not seem like a lengthy distance to travel but when traveling at five miles per hour bumper to bumper, residents like Donna McEntee say it can feel like an eternity.

"There have been days when, especially last summer I would say, when it took about 20 minutes to get about seven or eight blocks," said McEntee of Millville.

When college student and Bethany Lakes resident Carter Michael left for school last year during construction, he thought it would've been all over by now.

"Now that I'm back, I'd say it's worse. But I know it's going to get even worse," said Michael referring to the influx of traffic the summer months often bring to coastal towns.

Throughout construction, commuters are not the only ones who have been impacted. When a portion of Route 26 closed, some businesses shut down completely. Other businesses, such as Good Earth Market in Millville, say they saw a dip in sales.

"We were really afraid for the first quarter of this year because they closed the roads to do the bridges," said Good Earth owner Sue Ryan. "At first we thought, 'Oh no, what's going to happen?' But we made it through."

While many admit it's been a challenging year dealing with all of the road closures and traffic jams, many are looking forward to the newest addition coming to the roadway.

"There's going to be a bike lane from St. George's church to Bethany," said Ryan, "so for us personally it's a game changer."

A change many in the area hope is in sight.

DelDot says the construction project is on schedule to be complete by July 2016. The improvements should ease congestion when drivers want to make left turns and make the roadways safer for cyclists.

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