Fenwick Eyes Highway Improvements

FENWICK ISLAND – Fenwick Island Town Manager Pat Schuchman said a handful of state-led transportation projects along Route 1 will soon come to fruition.

Last Friday, Schuchman presented the Fenwick Island Town Council with an update on several planned transportation improvements along Route 1.

“Two months ago, the mayor, the police chief, [Public Works Manager] Mike Locke and I met with representatives from DelDOT …,” she said. “We talked about a transitional speed for Route 1 southbound going from 55 mph down to 45 mph then to 35 mph. Another thing we talked about was where to put some street lighting.”

In an update last Friday, Schuchman said the town can expect new speed signs in the coming weeks, providing a transition zone of sorts for people traveling through Fenwick Island. There are also plans to mount new street lighting on Delmarva Power poles along the west side of Route 1.

“As far as lights, they are proposing a retrofit of 17 pole lights that exist now with 400-watt LED light fixtures, and to install 20 new 400-watt LED fixtures on 4-inch bracket arms attached to the metal poles out on the highway …,” she said. “We’re hoping sooner rather than later.”

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The two projects are one of several improvements eyed for Route 1. The town in March also requested a crossing system at Coastal Highway and Houston Street, as well as for DelDOT to evaluate the intersection of Coastal Highway and Bayard Street.

“We also requested the crosswalk be moved to the north side of Bayard Street …,” Schuchman said. “Because there’s a beacon light there, it’s not just moving a crosswalk. They’d have to put in a new handicap cut into the curb.”

The town’s March meeting with DelDOT representatives not only highlighted requested transportation projects, but Fenwick’s sidewalk construction project. While currently in the first phase, DelDOT has included the remaining blocks into its 2024 Capital Transportation Plan.

“One of the things that has been promised for over 20 years is that the state would eventually come into Fenwick and do sidewalks on both sides of the road …,” Mayor Vicki Carmean said earlier this year. “The good news is DelDOT has a capital project planned for 2024 that involves doing whatever is left over on both sides of the street.”

In 2019, Fenwick Island initiated the first phase of its sidewalk construction project, which includes five or six bayside blocks south of James Street. And in February, the Fenwick Island Town Council signed off on a contract with Century Engineering to begin the first phase of construction next fall.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.