Multiple intersections are being addressed. (DelDOT)

DelDOT rethinking area around Augustine Cut-Off bridge

Ken MammarellaGovernment, Headlines

Multiple intersections are being addressed. (DelDOT)

This triangular intersection on Lovering Avenue in Wilmington and other nearby areas are being addressed. (DelDOT)

Plans are under way to make roadways around the Augustine Cut-Off bridge over the Brandywine safer and better for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. And slower for drivers.

The Delaware Department of Transportation project  extends from Brandywine Hundred down to Lovering Avenue in the northern edge of Wilmington.

The most prominent change involves reconfiguring the triangular intersection of Lovering Avenue and N. 18th Street into a more traditional T-shape.

Officials also want to eliminate left turns between Augustine Cut-Off and Wawaset Street.

Improvements will be made throughout for bicyclists and pedestrians, such a protected bike lane across the bridge and a shared roadway to the north.

Officials are also considering an outdoor stairway for pedestrians between Augustine Cut-Off and N. 18th and addressing “conflicts and safety issues created by illegal parking” on Augustine Cut-Off.

“There is a lot of interesting pedestrian activity in the area,” DelDOT planner Paul Moser said in a presentation showing a slide of a landscape where people have, footfall by footfall, created a dirt path.

The area’s dominant features include Incyte, a pharmaceuticals firm seeking approval from New Castle County to expand on acreage acquired from Wilmington Friends School; the Salesianum School and its Absessinio Stadium; a Wilmington fire station; and scattered retailers, restaurants and other businesses.

Although Wilmington is built on a grid on the southern end of the project area, roads dramatically curve elsewhere, creating intersections with unusual shapes and dramatic grade changes.

During the presentation, Moser repeatedly brought up two concepts: “connectivity” and “pinch points.” Connectivity refers to the ability of bicyclists and pedestrians to move around safely (or at least, safer than they now move). “Pinch points” refers to places where bike paths and sidewalks end, and force bicyclists into the general roadway and pedestrians into detours. The goal is to increase connectivity and reduce pinch points.

Traffic calming for the area is likely to include narrower lanes for vehicles that allow for bicycle paths, barriers between drivers and bicyclists and extended curbs that help protect pedestrians.

The overall plan for the Augustine Cut-Off area has three geographic sectors. (DelDOT)

The overall plan for the Augustine Cut-Off area has three geographic sectors. (DelDOT)

2 stages on Augustine Cut-Off

The first stage reaches only to Cantera Road (that’s lime green on the map). A timetable for a second stage north of Cantera and up to Edgewood Road (purple) has not yet been announced.

Wilmington petitioned DelDOT to rethink the area, where the bridge links the state’s two largest population centers: the city and Brandywine Hundred.

A separate but adjacent project involves federal Transportation Alternatives Program funding to improve Lovering Avenue (yellow on the map).

Officials are seeking input through May 18. They expect to begin design this fall or winter.

Incyte has been awarded a grant to construct a traffic signal at an entrance into its campus (it’s Stone Hill Road on the other side of Augustine Cut-Off). That light, a presentation slide notes, depending on Incyte getting approval to expand and the company’s business plans.

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