One of the more dangerous intersections in the town of Greenville, Delaware, is the intersection of Routes 52 and 82 (Kennett Pike and Kirk/Campbell Roads). In the past several years, a higher-than-expected number of automobile accidents, one resulting in two deaths in 2008, have occurred at this particular intersection. As a result, DelDOT undertook a project to redesign the intersection to improve traffic flow and safety. The re-design is part of their federally-funded Highway Safety Improvement Program.
The initial DelDOT design presented to the community consisted of expanding the existing 4 lanes on Route 52 to 6 lanes – 3 lanes northbound and 3 lanes southbound. The design also included adding traffic islands, bike lanes, crosswalks and street lights. Local residents, Delaware Greenways, The Kennett Pike Association (KPA), and others had objections to this intrusive plan. Objections included light pollution, which would affect the Mt. Cuba observatory, the expansion to 6 lanes, and placing bicycle lanes between two lanes of automobile traffic, which seemed unsafe and unecessary.
Additionally, neighbors, Delaware Greenways and KPA all desired the 50 mph speed limit be lowered to 35 mph on Route 52 northbound from the Greenville shopping area to Route 82. DelDOT then shared revised plans at a second community meeting.
After the two public meetings, separate meetings with neighbors, including Delaware Greenways and KPA representatives, were held. At these meetings DelDOT made a number of design changes, including:
- Reducing the initially proposed 6 lanes on Route 52 to the existing 4 lanes
- Marking the center left hand lanes for left turns only
- Marking the right hand lanes for through traffic and right turns
- Increasing both right turn lane radiuses as a safety measure
- Adding pavement stampings to aid in directing traffic to the proper lane
- Installing new traffic lights on mast-head arm poles similar to what exists in Greenville
- Moving new bicycle lanes to the far right hand side of the road (north and south)
- Deleting street lights along Delaware’s only scenic by-way
- Adding storm drains on the east and west sides of the road to reduce flooding
The agreed to plan requires DelDOT to acquire some property from the neighbors to allow wider turning radiuses. DelDOT did not approve the request to lower the 50 mph speed limit to 35 mph or to place a flashing yellow light north of the intersection to warn southbound motorists of an upcoming red light.
Presently construction is scheduled to start early in 2012. DelDOT, local residents, Delaware Greenways, and the Kennett Pike Association are all to be congratulated on working together to make the new route 82/52 intersection safer and to allow for the smoother flow of traffic. The entire community will benefit from this improved intersection.