Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/1183608

First phase of rail trail is in Lewes

Decade-long plan will link coast to Georgetown
By Ron MacArthur | May 22, 2014
Photo by: Ron MacArthur The Georgetown to Lewes rail-trail will include an 18-mile long, 10-foot wide multi-use pathway along the existing Delaware Coast Line Railroad tracks.

State transportation officials have unveiled the first phase of a decade-long project to build an 18-mile trail along the rail line from Lewes to Georgetown.

The initial section of the Georgetown to Lewes Rail with Trail is a 1.25-mile pathway in Lewes following the Delaware Coast Line Railroad tracks from Gills Neck Road to a trailhead at the new Lewes library site and onto a crossing at Savannah Road. The cost of Phase 1 is $1.5 million, said DelDOT supervisor Marco Boyce during a May 15 workshop in Lewes.

Boyce said if funding is secured, work on the shared-use pathway is expected to begin in the summer of 2015. “We still have some right-of-way issues to work out,” he said.

While the state-owned railway right-of-way averages about 60 feet wide, over the years some residents have encroached into the right-of-way, Boyce said. Those encroachments include landscaping, fencing, a planting bed, a driveway and even two buildings. “Depending on the final drawing, they may or may not have to be removed or moved,” Boyce said. “We are working those issues out with property owners.”

Boyce said DelDOT officials met with City of Lewes officials to work out the trail alignment to minimize the effect on property owners who live along the pathway.

Boyce said the trail is designed for use for a family of four riding their bicycles; motorized vehicles and horses will not be permitted. The pathway will be paved with pervious asphalt, Boyce said.

The trail will eventually cross Freeman Highway at Monroe Avenue to connect with the Junction and Breakwater Trail. Construction of that section of trail – from Gills Neck Road to Freeman Highway along the border of the Breakwater community – is in litigation as DelDOT attorneys file condemnation proceedings.

Not everyone looking over the plans was in support of the new trail. “I don't want to lose my privacy,” said Donna Beecher, who lives along Gills Neck Road where the trail would start. “This doesn't connect to anything at Gills Neck and encourages people to ride on this dangerous road. I'm not looking forward to it.”

“Why doesn't it end at Monroe Avenue?” she asked.

Lewes cyclist Dennis Taylor said he supports the trail but would prefer DelDOT place a high priority on a safe crossing of Route 1 under the Nassau bridge.

“I think this will be a big positive for Sussex County for families to enjoy,” he said.

Boyce said Phase 2 of the project could entail a path under the Nassau bridge, but that decision has not yet been made.

DelDOT officials said the rail line is used about once a week to transport three or four rail cars to SPI Pharma Group near Cape Henlopen State Park. The train is restricted to travel no more than 5 mph.

Looking toward the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, the trail will follow the rail tracks behind the current Lewes library ending at Gills Neck Road. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Comments (8)
Posted by: Joseph Tomlinson | May 23, 2014 07:41

Phase 1 plans look great!!!  DelDOT has done a good job with the design and hopefully this project can move forward quickly so we can get Phase 2 under the Nassau bridge for Dennis!!!  The trail asset (along with the other nearby trail projects in the hopper) will be a major addition to Lewes lifestyle.  Let's get started!!!



Posted by: Tim McCollum | May 24, 2014 08:41

Planning is complete.  Now where will the money come from?  The state has a revenue shortfall.  Let's support the 10 cent a gallon tax increase so we can improve cycling and pedestrian safety in the cape region.



Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | May 28, 2014 06:44

Mr. Mccollum: I imagine sir that you do not travel very far via automobile to so audaciously support a 10 cent tax increase on gasoline. The state has a revenue shortfall due to mis-management. Providing a cycling venues, and/or pedestrian safety for those with time to indulge should not be placed on the backs of working class people who must commute. Thank you for your understanding.



Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | May 28, 2014 06:47

Mr. Mccollum: I imagine sir that you do not travel very far via automobile to so audaciously support a 10 cent tax increase on gasoline. The state has a revenue shortfall due to mis-management. Providing cycling venues, and/or pedestrian safety for those with time to indulge should not be placed on the backs of working class people who must commute. Thank you for your understanding.



Posted by: Tim McCollum | May 28, 2014 08:11

Au contraire Mr. Price. I average 27,000 miles per year in my 2011 Ford Taurus; half of which is my commute. My support for the 10 cent tax increase on gasoline is for the safety of commuters, tourists, pedestrians, and cyclists in the cape region.  Road and bridge infrastructure projects are at risk over the next several years without funding.



Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | May 28, 2014 19:46

Not to indulge in continuing argument Tim, but I must admit that your point is well received. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment concerning safety. I simply do not agree with the solution. Instead of providing wasteful State managers with a quick fix which they do not deserve, I would suggest that they take immediate steps to reduce the size of government, not to raid a hard earned transportation fund just because they wanted to, and to stick to the concept of budget management which all working class people must; including yourself. I would hate to think what a 10 cent increase would cost someone who travels 27,000 miles a year. I would hope your very well paid for that commute.



Posted by: Tim McCollum | May 29, 2014 21:33

Mr. Price, I appreciate your solution regarding cuts and budget management as a means of funding these important projects.  According to TRIP, a nonprofit transportation research group, driving on Delaware's roads and bridges in need of repair or replacement costs Delaware motorists $228 million a year.  That  is $318 per motorist in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs.  Increasing the gasoline tax 10 cents per gallon would cost me an additional $108 per year.  Pay now or pay later?  Let's agree that these infrastructure projects are needed for safety as well as job creation. 



Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | May 30, 2014 07:02

I concur Mr. Mccollum we can agree the end safety result is needed, as we did on the smoking issue in Rehoboth.

The wasted millions on the Indian River Bridge would have gone far to achieve, and resolve some of these issues you appear to be concerned about.

I do not support 'bailing' the legislature out by giving them more money through tax increase. They must learn that ineffective budget management cannot continue to be tolerated; and they cannot pay for their mistakes simply by raising taxes on a struggling working class.

I see you raise the golden word 'jobs'. That one is hard to argue, but the people in state government should be using their talent to bring clean industry and good paying corporate jobs rather than expanding state government to provide those needed jobs.

The State of Delaware is the largest employer than any other entity in the state. To me, that is a scary thing.

Do you support expanding government even more than it is? I do not. In fact I support reducing it substantially.



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