DelDOT Set to Begin Overpass Project on DE 1 in Kent Co. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DelDOT Set to Begin Overpass Project on DE 1 in Kent Co.

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DelDOT is putting an overpass at DE 1 and Bowers Beach Road (Photo: WBOC) DelDOT is putting an overpass at DE 1 and Bowers Beach Road (Photo: WBOC)

LITTLE HEAVEN, Del. (WBOC) - In an effort to relieve summer traffic headaches and improve safety, the Delaware Department of Transportation is ready to start work on a big project to let cars get through Kent County more easily.

DelDOT is building an overpass on DE 1 in Kent County between Magnolia and Frederica. Work on the $40-million project is set to begin in late October.

On Tuesday afternoon the department held a public information session at the Bowers Fire Company to discuss with people what impact the project will have on traffic along the stretch of DE 1 through Little Heaven.

"The summer afternoons are packed with traffic, people in a rush to get to the beach," said Adriana Cortez. Her family owns JC Liquor Mart, which sits where the highway intersects Bowers Beach Road.

"I think anybody who rides that section of DE 1 knows that on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays you have a lot of backups," said Craig Blowers, the project engineer for DelDOT.

The overpass is supposed to help with that by eliminating two traffic signals on this part of DE 1, including the one at Bowers Beach Road.
Blowers said that recently DelDOT has tended to build overpasses where the local road goes over the highway but not here.

"It's not your typical grade-separated intersection that we've seen," he said. "In this case, DE 1 is going to be elevated over the local roads."

Service roads will run along with the highway. DelDOT will set those up first before building the overpass. That will give cars a way to get through the area during the main construction phase.

DelDOT is also trying to avoid doing things like closing lanes during peak driving times, especially during the summer.

"Our intent is to keep lane restrictions to an absolute minimum to make sure traffic can still flow unimpeded," said Blowers.

Cortez thinks an overpass will help traffic flow. But she worries about how the three-year-long project will affect her store.

"Three years of construction. Three years of people asking me - What's going on? What's going to happen to your business? Are you going to stay in business? It will be interesting to see what happens."

Blowers expects the project to be complete in the fall of 2018. He said it may stretch into the spring of 2019 but will definitely be done before the summer season starts.

DelDOT is working on three more overpass projects aimed at eliminating traffic lights and improving the flow of cars along route one in Kent County. The highway is the main road to and from the beaches for places north of Delmarva.

Work is already underway at Thompsonville Road near Milford. The $15-million project is expected to be complete next fall.

DelDOT expects construction on an overpass in south Frederica to start this spring. That project will cost $22 million and take three years.
Finally, a $16-million project at Northeast Front Street is planned to being in fall 2017 and take two years.

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