Park Road to connect New, Pilottown roadsRubber will finally meet road on decade-old project
Lewes — The construction of Park Road, a long-awaited roadway connecting New Road and Pilottown Road, is slated to begin Wednesday, Oct. 9. The project will require closing part of the existing road to through traffic.
The closure will not affect residents of Canary Creek Villas, who will be able to enter via New Road.
The project creates a connector road adjacent to the old University of Delaware Research Park Road commonly used as an alternative route to the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment Hugh R. Sharp Campus.
Park Road's primary purpose is to reduce towed boat traffic through Lewes, which currently turns onto Front Street and continuies along Pilottown Road to and from the public boat ramp.
Turning clearance for large boats, typically pulled by large pickup trucks, is tight at Savannah Road and Front Street and also at Pilottown and New roads.
City and state officials say reducing boat traffic on a large segment of Pilottown Road would improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety.
State and city officials said they cannot require drivers towing boats to use the connector road, but they hope people will use it.
The connector’s alignment bypasses the UD campus and creates a new intersection at Pilottown Road to allow traffic to travel from New Road to Pilottown Road without crossing the Sharp Campus.
The connector will also provide access to the U.S. Coast Guard Station, Lewes Dairy and other businesses and residences along Pilottown Road.
Department of Natural Resource and Environmental Control’s Division of Parks and Recreation will oversee construction.
Besides building Park Road, the project includes resurfacing and realigning part of the existing campus road, and a shared-use pedestrian/bicycle path is being added along Park Road.
In January, Charles Salkin, Division of Parks and Recreation director said Delaware Department of Transportation estimated the project would cost $4.4 million.
Salkin told Lewes Mayor and City Council in January that the division had only $1.8 million for the project.
About half of the money would be spent rebuilding a causeway, Salkin said. He said new roadway construction from the causeway to Pilottown Road would be the most costly segment.
If there wasn’t enough money to finish the connector it would not open, Salkin said.
Matt Chesser, DNREC environmental administrator overseeing construction, in an Oct. 3 interview said using funds left over from other projects there is sufficient money to finish the project.
Completion is expected in March 2014.