What is needed: If you’ve got thoughts and comments on a series of proposed transportation improvement projects in Kent County, the Dover/Kent Metropolitan Planning Organization wants to hear them.
“It’s our goal to make sure the county, the state, municipalities and the people get together and talk about transportation in central Delaware,” said Kate Layton, spokeswoman for the MPO. “One of our functions is communication. We’re looking for people’s opinions, and they can write, call, or come into the office to tell us.”
What it is: This is the MPO’s most recent effort to gather public opinion based on its revised Fiscal Year 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Plan. The document lays out 11 proposals for construction and safety improvements to enhance how people get around using Kent County’s road and highways.
Kent Countians have been invited to examine the TIP and comment on its proposals through Friday, Aug. 22. The comment period opened on July 23.
The TIP projects spending in excess of $142 million in various projects over the next four fiscal years, 86 percent of which is expected to come from the federal government.
This revised plan is particularly important since it reflects changes brought about by reductions in funding for those projects, Layton said.
Why you should be interested: MPO members are hoping the public takes a renewed interest in these projects because many will affect everyone in the county in one way or another.
“When we did this the first time, we got some feedback, but for a lot of people, it depends on what the project is,” Layton said. “A lot of time, we get no comments at all. In fact, we haven’t heard anything at all about the revised TIP.”
It is particularly important that people speak up now, before any projects move toward finalization, she said.
“These are the people’s roads,” Layton said, “roads that are being paid for with their tax dollars. But people tend not to talk about roads until something goes awry or until there’s a big change. That’s when people start to pay attention.”
Who to contact: A copy of the 96-page draft transportation improvement plan is available at http://tinyurl.com/DraftTIP. A video tour of the proposed projects can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/VirtualTrail.
Comments on the plan may be made by calling the MPO at 387-6026 or 387-6030, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting the MPO offices at the Camden Town Hall at 1783 Friends Way, Camden.
Here is a rundown of five of the proposed transportation projects:
1. Widening of U.S. Route 13
This hazard-elimination project will convert U.S. Route 13 from two to three lanes between the Puncheon Run Connector and Walnut Shade Road in Woodside. The MPO estimates the project will cost $2.75 million in design costs through FY 2018; construction would take place sometime after FY 2020. There are no figures yet available for projected construction costs.
2. Construction of the West Dover Connector
A project to continue Saulsbury Road from its intersection with North Street by construction of a new roadway to run behind the Kraft Foods/Procter & Gamble plants, over New Burton Road and to connect to U.S. Route 13. The approximately $57 million project is intended to help relieve traffic congestion in the city of Dover.
3. Construction of a roundabout at the Del. Route 10/Route 15 intersection near Camden
DelDOT envisions spending $1.22 million through FY 2018 for planning and construction of a roundabout at this intersection. Construction is projected to start in FY 2017.
4. Improvements to Kenton Road from Del. Route 8 to Chestnut Grove Road
A $1.6 million project, projected to go into the design stage in FY 2016, will widen Kenton Road to two 11-foot-wide lanes with 5-foot shoulders, curbs and sidewalks.
5. Grade separated intersection construction along Del. Route 1
This project includes an estimated cost of $26 million for intersection improvements at Thompsonville Road, $70 million for realignment of Route 1 at Little Heaven, $28.6 million for the Route 1/Northeast Front Street intersection in Milford, and $31.5 million for improvements at the Route 1/South Frederica interchange. This latter project was rescheduled from FY 2014 to FY 2017 and has been the source of controversy since a group of area businessmen with the Greater Kent Committee planned to use it for access to a new regional sports facility.