Route 54 Project On Target To Meet Deadline

FENWICK — After nearly two years of prolonged delays, it now appears construction along Route 54 will be completed in time for Memorial Day weekend, although there is still much work to complete over the next week.

Last month, a petition was circulated among Route 54 residents and business owners calling for a guarantee the road construction project that began nearly two years ago would be complete by Memorial Day weekend. In the weeks since, nearly 3,000 Fenwick area residents and business owners have signed the petition urging Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDot) to expedite the completion date.

DelDot Office of Public Relations Manager Mike Williams said this week the construction work on Route 50, along with the final phases of the Indian River Bridge, are nearing completion and both projects are expected to be wrapped up before Memorial Day weekend, save for a few finishing touches.

“Each site will be open to traffic next week,” Williams said. “Route 54 has the final paving layer down and striping and some ending punch list items are being completed. The bridge work is also wrapping up with some final connection paving of the side roads to the state park areas on the east and west sides.”

In April, well over 100 residents and business owners crammed into Smitty McGee’s on Route 54 to hold DelDot officials’ feet to the fire on the Memorial Day weekend completion date for the project. While stopping short of making that promise, and citing potential for weather-related delays, DelDot officials told those assembled every effort was being undertaken to finish the project before the holiday. Williams said this week a less than stellar weather forecast could delay some of the finishing touches, but said both Route 54 and the Indian River Bridge project will soon be cleared up.

In April, DelDot reported the completion date was contingent on the final layer of paving and that the roadway would be open for Memorial Day regardless of that completion. With the third layer now down on Route 54, it appears it should be business as usual next weekend.

“Both areas will be open no later than Thursday afternoon,” he said. “We are expecting upcoming rain to possibly delay some painting work, but that should not be a big problem.”