DelDOT: Ma­jor over­haul of Elk­ton Road to be­gin in 2019

Cecil Whig - - OBITUARIES & REGIONAL - By JOSH SHAN­NON

Spe­cial from the Ne­wark Post

— A $25 mil­lion road re­con­struc­tion project slated to be­gin in spring 2019 will bring ma­jor changes to Elk­ton Road, in­clud­ing a third lane, a sep­a­rated bike path and in­ter­sec­tion im­prove­ments.

The project will pro­vide a more per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to the pot­holes and rough road sur­face that plagued the high­way for two years, ac­cord­ing to Delaware Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion of­fi­cials, who un­veiled the plans Mon­day night.

“This is the long­time fix,” Project Man­ager Michael Nau­man said. “Ev­ery­thing be­fore was the prover­bial Band- Aid.”

The roads took a beat­ing dur­ing the snowy win­ter of 2013- 14, with many deep pot­holes open­ing up. Though they were patched that spring and sum­mer, sim­i­lar dam­age hap­pened again the fol­low­ing win­ter. The re­con­struc­tion project was al­ready on the hori­zon, but the dam­age was so bad, DelDOT spent $2.5 mil­lion repaving the road start­ing last fall.

The new project, which is ex­pected to be com­pleted by spring 2021, will re­place the as­phalt with con­crete, which Nau­man said will last longer and hold up bet­ter un­der pres­sure from heavy truck traf­fic.

The work will be fo­cused on the por­tion of Elk­ton Road from the state line to Casho Mill Road. The por­tion head­ing into down­town Ne­wark was re­done dur­ing a years- long con­struc­tion project that con­cluded in 2012.

The most no­tice­able change will be the ad­di­tion of a third travel lane in each di­rec­tion be­tween Otts Chapel Road and Christina Park­way. Nau­man said the ad­di­tional lanes will ac­com­mo­date in­creased traf­fic on that seg­ment of the road.

The project will also add a sec­ond right turn lane from Christina Park­way onto Elk­ton Road. The turn will be con­trolled by a traf fic light rather than the cur­rent yield sign.

How­ever, Nau­man warned, the two years of con­struc­tion will be dif­fi­cult for mo­torists, who will face lane clo­sures and de­lays. The north­bound lanes – the ones used by cars com­ing from Mary­land – will be re­con­structed first, and all traf­fic will be shifted to the south­bound side, with one lane in each di­rec­tion. Once that is com­plete, the south­bound lanes will be re­con­structed.

“It will be painful, but you’ll get a good prod­uct in the end,” he said, adding, “If you’re lo­cal, you’ll drive around it.”

NE­WARK, DEL. Bike path to con­nect Mary­land with the Hall Trail

Cy­clists, too, will ben­e­fit from the project.

DelDOT is plan­ning a 10-foot-wide paved bi­cy­cle and pedes­trian path that will run par­al­lel to the north­bound lanes but be sep­a­rated by a grassy me­dian.

“There’s a huge de­mand for it,” Nau­man said, not­ing that many res­i­dents and Univer­sity of Delaware stu­dents use bikes to travel Elk­ton Road. “It will add con­nec­tiv­ity from Mary­land all the way through Ne­wark.”

The path will con­nect cy­clists to Gravenor Lane, from which they can ride through Devon and the Binns to get to the James F. Hall Trail. The trail takes cy­clists along the Am­trak line all the way to the Delaware Tech­nol­ogy Park on Wy­oming Road, or they can branch off onto the Pomeroy Trail to head north to Main Street or into White Clay Creek State Park.

The Elk­ton Road path will also pro­vide a con­nec­tion to Rit­ten­house Trail and the bike path that par­al­lels Christina Park­way. On the south­ern side, it will ex­tend into Mary­land and con­nect with the Stonegate Apart­ments.

DelDOT will be re­spon­si­ble for main­te­nance of the path, in­clud­ing snow re­moval.

Crews will also build a side­walk along the south­bound lanes.

Up­grades planned for Dunkin’ Donuts in­ter­sec­tion

Up­grades planned for the in­ter­sec­tion of Elk­ton Road and McIn­tire Drive are sure to please cof­fee lovers.

DelDOT has been work­ing on the im­prove­ments with the city of Ne­wark and the own­ers of the Dunkin’ Donuts lo­cated at the in­ter­sec­tion.

Of­fi­cials are plan­ning to cre­ate a new en­trance to the Dunkin Donuts prop­erty – which also in­cludes a for­mer tobacco shop soon to be oc­cu­pied by a liquor store – on the south side of the build­ing. That land, owned by the city, is used as a yard waste dump but will soon be con­verted to a park.

Build­ing that en­trance would cre­ate a tra­di­tional four-way in­ter­sec­tion and al­low driv­ers com­ing from McIn­tire Drive or north­bound Elk­ton Road to en­ter the Dunkin’ Donuts park­ing lot.

Be­cause the cur­rent en­trance to the dough­nut shop doesn’t line up with McIn­tire Drive, north- bound driv­ers on Elk­ton Road can’t turn left into the park­ing lot. How­ever, many peo­ple il­le­gally do so any­way, mak­ing the turn at McIn­tire Drive and trav­el­ing against traf­fic in or­der to sneak into the lot.

“It’s a pretty big safety is­sue,” said Tom Cole­man, Ne­wark’s pub­lic works direc­tor.

The city also has an in­ter­est in hav­ing a sig­nal­ized in­ter­sec­tion for vis­i­tors to use to come in and out of the fu­ture park.

Cole­man said Dunkin’ Donuts will pay to build the new en­trance and a small park­ing lot for the park. In ex­change, the busi­ness will be able build a drive­way into its park­ing lot from the new en­trance.

“It worked out as a win­win for us and Dunkin’ Donuts,” Cole­man said.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Elk­ton Road, be­tween the state line and Casho Mill Road, is due for a ma­jor over­haul start­ing in 2019.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

At the in­ter­sec­tion of Elk­ton Road and McIn­tire Drive, crews will build a new en­trance to the left of Dunkin’ Donuts. It will serve both the busi­ness and a city park due to be built be­hind it.

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