WDEL's Road Scholar: DelDOT considers two alternatives for a regularly used local route

A DelDOT project engineer explains one alternative proposed at a public workshop on December 8, 2015, for the reconstruction of the Millcreek Road at Stoney Batter Road intersection./(Andrew Sgroi/WDEL)

An oft-traveled intersection near Pike Creek was recently the topic at a public workshop held by the Delaware Department of Transportation.

Engineers considering safety improvements for the crossing located at Mill Creek Road and Stoney Batter Road--as well as the roughly two-tenths of a mile that extends off all legs of the intersection--offered two modified proposals that will ultimately reconfigure the area.

The original plan, ushered for consideration in March 2011, helped to address high crash rates (50 reported accidents between January 2005 and February 2011) for which the area was becoming known.

"What we're doing is turning this into a T-intersection, with a stop sign on (the northern branch of) Millcreek Road itself," explained project engineer Joe Hofstee. "Stoney Batter and Millcreek (Roads) would be a free flow movement at that location."

The 'T' intersection proposed in 2011 (Andrew Sgroi/WDEL)

One of the newer plans, the raised 'T', expands upon the initial framework, thereby providing greater safety.

The raised 'T' intersection now being proposed (Andrew Sgroi/WDEL)

"(Now) we're raising the profile of the roads," Hofstee described. "That way, all three legs are more level. It will help with sight distance, and also can help us with our drainage through this intersection. Since the road is a little higher, we can put a larger pipe underneath the roadway. Also expand the widths and depths of our swales that are along the road, (to) help prevent icing up of the intersection."

Though DelDOT had done its due diligence with offering the best correction to the area, not everyone in attendance saw the value of the raised 'T'.

"If they're going to bring this up six feet, now people driving by are going to be looking straight at my house," argued a local resident--who preferred not to be identified. "And that's not why I bought the property. I bought it because of the privacy."

The other proposed design--a roundabout--would still require a raising of the road beds but would also better regulate speeds employed by motorists in the area.

The roundabout design now being considered (Andrew Sgroi/WDEL)

"This (the raised 'T' intersection) would be a design speed of around 40 miles per hour," Hofstee informed. "(For) a roundabout, speeds are typically around 20 miles per hour."

The roundabout--which has already been applied at other high-use local junctions across Delaware--mandates a yield condition at all legs of the intersection.

"If you're in the roundabout, you have the right-of-way and vehicles outside the roundabout have to yield to vehicles (already) inside the roundabout," Hofstee illustrated.

A roundabout explained (Courtesy/DelDOT)

Even the resident acknowledged the roundabout solution, though not perfect, might be the more appropriate fix.

"All of this privacy, now, is gone. So, to push (the intersection) further away from the house would be nice, which the roundabout does. (But) I think people would have to learn how to use that."

DelDOT plans to formally announce the preferred alternative design in early 2016, with anticipated construction in 2017.

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Contact Andrew Sgroi with Road Scholar story ideas to andrew@dbcmedia.com or follow him on Twitter at @Cuse92.