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December 15, 2017     Cape Gazette
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December 15, 2017

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paver crosswalks. Instead, officials from the city and De- partment of Transportation will develop a safety-improvement project that will shift vehicular traffic to allow bike lanes on both sides of the roadway from the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal to American Legion Road. “We’re all disappointed [about losing the enhancements], but there comes a time when you recognize that when you’re talk- ing to a wall, the wall isn’t going to talk back,” said Deputy Mayor Fred Beaufait. “We pushed as hard as we could, and this is what the results were.” Council unanimously voted to enter into a design agreement with DelDOT for the project. The city will be required to cover 20 percent of the $125,000 design cost. If the city does not approve the final design, it will be on the hook for the entire $125,000.  The construction phase of the project is estimated at $600,000 to $800,000. The city is also re- quired to fund 20 percent of the cost, about $150,000.  “We’re going to be paying that much money for a bicycle path for three-tenths of a mile,” said Councilman Dennis Reardon, who emphasized that the project will improve safety for bicyclists riding to and from the beach. “I just want everyone to understand that.” The project calls for a 5-foot bike lane along the westbound, commercial side of Savannah Road and an 8- to 10-foot bike lane on the eastbound side, along the marsh. The two vehicular travel lanes will be reduced from nearly 12 feet to 10 feet. Savannah Road must be wid- ened and the existing 10-foot shoulder must be rebuilt to sup- port the shifted vehicular traffic.  “I don’t see this costing $700,000,” Beaufait said. “They’re only going to be redoing about an 8-foot width for three-tenths of a mile. I’m going to reach in the air and say it will be less than $500,000.”  The original plan called for a single 8- to 10-foot multi-use path along the marsh, but no path along the commercial side. The path was intended for two- way bike and pedestrian traffic, and it was to be separated from the roadway by a vegetated buf- fer. The plan also included new sidewalks, landscaping, brick paver crosswalks to match those in downtown, improvements to the corner of American Legion and Savannah Roads and a nature outlook in the marsh. Gail van Gilder, chair of the Historic Lewes Scenic Byway Committee, said she was dis- appointed by the considerable change. She said the original intent of the project was to im- prove the streetscape along Savannah Road, while creating a safe alternative for getting to the beach.  “There was so much in it,” she said. “It would’ve been a big upgrade from what we have there now. I think we’re getting the short end of things. We were getting so much for a $1 million project. Now, we’re just getting a bike lane.”  Members of council and the public were split on the original plan. Some said the two-way multi-use path would not solve safety problems and would cre- ate new ones where the path would end at the canal draw- bridge. Others applauded the effort to offer a safe route to the beach.  Cost concerns were also raised. The cost to the city was estimat- ed at about $250,000 over at least two years through an 80-20 split with the federal government. Jeff Niezgoda, assistant direc- tor in the planning division, said design of the new project should take about a year. Because con- struction is not possible during the summer on that stretch of road, he said it’s likely would begin in fall 2019. Connection to other trails The project is still being fund- ed through the Transportation Alternatives Program, where the original application was submit- ted, but the project is now being defined as a bicycle improve- ment project. It still carries an 80-20 match with federal funds. One of the goals, Niezgoda said, is to eventually connect the Savannah Road bike paths to a new trail planned to be built from the entrance of Cape Henlopen State Park along the decommis- sioned and soon-to-be-removed railroad tracks and across Free- man Highway to American Legion Road. Niezgoda said DNREC is al- ready planning and construction for that project could begin in fall 2018, about the same time as the second phase of the Lewes-to- Georgetown Rail to Trail from Savannah Road to Minos Con- away Road. Lewes officials were award- ed a $25,000 grant for the construction of the marsh out- look, originally part of the city’s project. Although that is no longer included in the project, Niezgoda said there have been discussions to build the outlook on the decommissioned rail line near the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. He said state and local officials are working to determine feasi- bility. The GIFTS They’ll NEVER Return! Kilwins Rehoboth Downtown Rehoboth Beach 140 Rehoboth Ave • 302-227-3611 OPEN EVERY DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS! DONATE WITH CONFIDENCE CALL 302-855-1156 (ext. 1) TODAYTo ArrangeYour Donation! Rt. 9 (GPS: 18501 Stamper Drive) Lewes, DE 107 Depot Street, Georgetown, DE Donated items in good usable condition can help buy essential items when constructing new Sussex County Habitat for Humanity Homes Donated items in good usable condition can help buy essential items when constructing new Sussex County Habitat for Humanity Homes YOUR HOUSEHOLD DONATION Donated items in good usable condition can help buy essential items when constructing new Sussex County Habitat for Humanity Homes Donated items in good usable condition can help buy essential items when constructing new Sussex County Habitat for Humanity Homes DIRECT COMMUNITY BENEFITS Donated items in good usable condition can help buy essential items HOUSEHOLD DONATION Donated items in good usable condition can help buy essential items Donated items in good usable condition can help buy essential items COMMUNITY = = YOUR OLD FOR HFH FOR HFH FOR HFH YOUR OLD YOUR OLD = = Items ALWAYS in need: Kitchen Cabinets Refrigerators Stoves Washers / Dryers Ovens 14 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15 - MONDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2017 NEWS Cape Gazette By Ron MacArthur The first meeting of a new Delaware Department of Trans- portation Five Points working group is scheduled for 5 p.m., Monday, Dec. 18, at the Lewes Senior Center, 32083 Janice Road, Lewes. The meeting is open to the public. DelDOT officials say they want to develop a transportation plan to address infrastructure needs for the Five Points area. In Phase 1, officials will solicit public input to develop conceptual transpor- tation alternatives to improve the intersection and surrounding area, said C.R. McLeod, director of DelDOT community relations. The goal is to complete the first phase by the end of summer 2018, he said. Working group members are: Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, 6th District; Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, 14th District; Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Lewes, 20th District; Sussex County Administra- tor Todd Lawson; D.J. Hughes, transportation engineer; Sussex County Councilman I.G. Bur- ton, R-Lewes; Rep. George Cole, R-Ocean View; Dennis Forney, Cape Gazette publisher; Lewes City Manager Ann Marie Town- shend; local business owners Christian Hudson, Pat Woods and Linda Best; and residents Robert Fischer, Scott Green and Lloyd Schmitz. DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan said everyone is in agree- ment a long-term infrastructure solution is needed for the Five Points area. “We've made several attempts to put forth solutions in the past that were met with public resistance, so we want the com- munity's input at the outset this time around,” she said. “We want to collaboratively develop a comprehensive plan for resolving transportation is- sues in the area.” First meeting of Five Points working group set DelDOT wants public input to solve transportation issues Lewes Continued from page 1 SAVANNAH ROAD MUST BE WIDENED AND THE EXISTING 10-FOOT SHOULDER MUST BE REBUILT TO SUPPORT THE SHIFTED VEHICULAR TRAFFIC.