Meeting allows public to ask questions about sections two and three of the new Route 301.

By Christopher Kersey, chris.kersey@doverpost.com

 The state Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 27, at Middletown Town Hall where residents can ask questions about section two and three of the new Route 301, now under construction.

Sections two and three run from the Maryland/Delaware line to the new U.S. Route 301 at Summit Bridge Road.

The new U.S. Route 301, costing $460 million, is on schedule to open in December 2018, providing motorists will a totally new road, from the existing 301 from the Maryland line to Route 1 at the Roth bridge.

When the road opens, the toll will be $4 to cars traveling the entire 14-mile road, but there will be three interchanges to the existing 301 with smaller toll amounts. Motorists will pay 50 cents at Jamison Corner Road, 75 cents at the North Middletown Interchange and $1 at Levels Road, said Ken Cimino, public outreach coordinator for the project.

There will be no cash tolls along the new road. Instead, the toll will be paid with EZ-Pass.

Another public meeting about the project was held on July 19. The meeting was short with only a few people asking questions.

Marshall Smith and his wife, Oliva, said they were concerned about traffic congestion, which they thought they escaped when they moved from Route 40 to farmland in Dutch Neck Farms near Delaware City 19 years ago.

Cimino said as more people move to this area, the congestion gets worse.

The Smiths also said that they aren’t allowed to turn left from Port Penn Road to southbound Route 13 because of the new construction.

Cimino confirmed that the left turn is prohibited because “our traffic safety professionals observed traffic operations at this intersection and determined that there was a significant sight distance concern for traffic turning to and from Port Penn Road.”

A “temporary concrete traffic barrier that has been installed along U.S. 13. This led to the closing of the median on U.S. 13 at Port Penn for the safety of the traveling public,” Cimino said.

A woman at the meeting asked if the new 301 will have lighted signs. Cimino said no, but the woman pointed out that the signs on 1-95 have lighted signs. Cimino only talked about signs on the new Route 301.

In other Route 301 news, Cimino said there will still be a "free ramp" to northbound Route 1 from U.S. Route 13.

“The existing ‘free ramp’ is being relocated to U.S. Route 13 and Port Penn Road. This will be a new signalized intersection that will carry the U.S. Route 13 traffic up onto SR 1 and over the Roth Bridge without paying the toll,” Cimino said.

DelDOT has released contact information for the public about the new 301 project: call the project office at 302-376-5600 or email Cimino at ken.cimino@state.de.us.