SNOW HILL – While Worcester County’s top priority in terms of highway projects funded by the state continues to be the ongoing dualization of Route 113, the County Commissioners on Tuesday made it known in no uncertain terms the second most important highway project in Worcester is Route 589.
The commissioners on Tuesday reviewed a “highway needs inventory” list it will submit to the state before the end of the month. The document is a wish list of sorts submitted to the state by county officials for consideration in the next highway project funding cycle. The list includes about a half a dozen primary projects for Worcester County and another three projects on a secondary list.
Topping the list, just as it has for a decade or so, are the continued improvements to Route 113, which is in the process of being dualized from the Delaware line to its southern terminus at Route 13 near Pocomoke.
The primary highway needs inventory list for the county also includes a total reconstruction of Route 90, or the Ocean City Expressway, at an estimated cost of over $248 million, a major rehabilitation or reconstruction of the Route 50 bridge into Ocean City at an estimated $447 million, and access control improvements at the intersection of Routes 50 and 589 at an estimated $95 million.
It’s important to note the list includes projects only under consideration. Some of the projects are fully underway, while some are in the planning stages and others could be a decade or more away. However, conspicuously absent from Worcester’s primary highway needs inventory list are improvements to the Route 589 corridor between Routes 50 and 113.
The project, which includes a multi-lane reconstruction on the nearly five mile stretch of highway, appears on the county’s secondary highway needs inventory list, a situation the commissioners voted to amend during Tuesday’s discussion of the projects on the list.
While Route 113 continues to be the top priority for Worcester County, improvements to Route 589 have been stated as the county’s second priority. Route 589’s appearance on the secondary list, or its absence on the primary list, drew concern on Tuesday from the commissioners, who instructed staff to make the necessary changes before submitting the document to the state.
“Racetrack Road has more urgency now then ever,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs. “It needs to be moved over to the primary list. Route 113 is our top priority and Route 589 remains a close second.”