Sussex County is in the process of improving the safety of the U.S. 9 truck bypass from east of Georgetown to U.S. 113. The plan by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) calls for upgrades to the roads used for the truck bypass including shoulders, appropriate turn lanes, and intersection improvements. The plans also address the room needed to extend the main runway of the Delaware Coastal Airport in the future.
According to DelDOT, around 800 trucks a day use the bypass, which has several locations with higher than average crash rates compared to both state and county averages. At present, the travel lanes are 10-11 feet wide and the shoulders between one and two feet. By 2040, traffic is anticipated to increase to 1,205 trucks, or about 20 percent of vehicles using the road. According to DelDOT, that number is high for comparable roads in Delaware. The increase is due in part to new commercial development in the county industrial park.
The Park Avenue Relocation Project is still in the environmental assessment phase. After that there will be a 30-day public comment period. Officials are planning the initial design phase for Spring 2018 with construction starting in 2022. The project should take two years to complete and cost approximately $33.8 million. The price tag includes construction costs, relocating utilities, right-of-way, and environmental mitigation.
Residents on and near Park Avenue expressed varying reactions to the proposed plan. Some have been notified that widening the road on each side to create ten- foot shoulders will take land from their front yards. Although residents will receive compensation from DelDOT for the land, they are concerned that their property values will decrease. Increased truck traffic also means increased noise levels. Residents said that in a workshop in 2016, DelDOT presented different options for improving the truck bypass and none of them examined removing the truck traffic from residential areas and relocating the path to rural locations.
Other residents expressed relief that the truck bypass will finally have adequate shoulder space. The relocation project will widen the travel lanes to 12 feet and add ten-foot shoulders which will aid emergency vehicles trying to reach the scene of a car accident. A clear zone of 20 feet from the edge of the travel lanes will also be added. The Delaware Motor Transport Association said that truckers would welcome the improvements.
Besides improving safety for both local and through-traffic, county officials believe that improving U.S. 9 can help east-west movement through the area which will allow the airport to grow. The Delaware Coastal Airport is a vital link in the transportation system of Southern Delaware with nearly 40,000 landings and takeoffs annually. When the relocation project is finished, the airport can consider extending the runway. Future improvements to the bypass could possibly accommodate traffic to and from the beaches and along the U.S. 113 commuter corridor.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, we can help you seek compensation. The Wilmington truck accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. are experienced and committed to holding those responsible for your injuries accountable for their negligence. Call 302-656-5445 or 800-355-1818 today to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Wilmington truck accident lawyer, or contact us online. We have locations in Wilmington and Georgetown to serve clients throughout Delaware.