The first phase of a nine-phase project to widen the roadway corridor of Route 299 east of Middletown has begun.
Delaware Department of Transportation spokesman C. R. McLeod said the initial phase started earlier in July.
"That is beginning in the area east of Middletown right near Route 1 and really beginning with the utility relocations," said McLeod. "Move both above ground and underground utilities further off of the right-of-way that will allow for the roadway to be expanded."
McLeod said the $18.4 million project is meant to add capacity to a roadway which is already getting maxxed out.
"Having a center turn lane from Catherine Street to Cleaver Farm Road will be a big improvement," said McLeod. "We're widening it to two lanes in each direction, with a bike lane, from Cleaver Farm Road to Route 1."
And McLeod added it's not just about the roadway.
"We're also going to have improved bicycle and pedestrian and public transit facilities," said McLeod, "and then also adding a 10-foot shared use path on the south side of the roadway, and a five-foot wide sidewalk on the north side.
"All improvements that we think are going to make it a user-friendly roadway for all modes of transportation for many years to come."
The project is scheduled to take two years to complete with road work requiring temporary lane closures mainly at night.