THE PROJECT: Carter Road is scheduled to be widened from Wheatley’s Pond Road (Rt. 300) to Sunnyside Road, according to Jim Westhoff, spokesman for the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).
“The road will be wider and safer, not just for cars, but for bycyclists, walkers, and joggers as well,” said Westhoff. “This will be a major improvement for the community.”
The project will include:
• Rebuilding the road with wider, 11-foot lanes;
• Five-foot shoulders on each side,
• Curbs on each side,
• Sidewalks on both sides in the Town of Smyrna, but on one side outside of town limits,
• Traffic light at the intersection of Carter and Sunnyside roads.
WHEN WILL CONSTRUCTION START: This winter. The first phase will be moving the utilities, Westhoff said. The road construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2012. Right now, DelDOT is in the process of buying the property needed for the wider road and sidewalks.
HISTORY: State Sen. Bruce Ennis (D-Smyrna) said the Carter Road project was proposed more than 10 years ago.
“I think there have been three public hearings in Smyrna about this, dating back to the year 2000,” Ennis said. “The road has been terrible for years. It’s pretty rough, and then there’s the fact that we have pedestrians and bicyclists using that road.”
Some residents just wanted the pothole-plagued road repaved; however, DelDOT officials recommended widening the road and adding shoulders before a major repaving project. Most residents didn’t like the original proposal for a third lane, a center lane for turning traffic.
“They thought it would become a raceway, with cars going even faster, and possibly a thoroughfare for trucks,” said Ennis.
The plan for the third lane was scrapped.
Another proposal that was controversial was for a roundabout at the intersection of Carter and Sunnyside roads.
“The fire company opposed that because they would have difficulty getting firetrucks through a roundabout,” said Ennis.
DRAWBACKS: Many residents along Carter Road don’t like the idea of having to sell a portion of their yards for the project.
Ennis said he’s been contacted by three residents who said they’re not being fairly compensated for their property in the wider roadway plan.
“Some of them own to the center of the road. That’s what’s in their deed. You would think DelDOT would have cleared that up years ago,” he said.
The project will mean the roadway will be closer to their homes than before.
“One resident was concerned that he was going to lose the space where he normally parks his cars,” Ennis said.
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