What’s the story with the constantly busted guardrails at Centerville Road and 82?

If you’re a somewhat regular commuter on the backroads of northwestern Delaware, you will no doubt be familiar with the beleaguered semi-intersection where Centerville Road meets Rte. 82, aka Campbell Road.

That’s because this very beautiful part of our state seems to be continually featuring some of the ugliest, mashed-up looking guardrails, again… and again … and again.

We call it a ‘semi-intersection’ because the spot in question isn’t really a true four-way thoroughfare.  This is the meeting point of Centerville Road and 82/Campbell Road – either the beginning or end of Centerville Road, depending on how you look at it, taking the shape of a T.

The two roads connect in a place where cars might be racing down 82 towards Hoopes Reservoir at pretty good speeds, perhaps making the sharp left turn onto Centerville Road a little too late, while drivers exiting that most windy of country lanes must cautiously inch their necks out onto 82 before having a full view.

The resulting accidents – and the lasting impression they make on the crushed-like-tin-can-guardrails – seems to be more the rule than the exception.  In the last few months we could have sworn that the guard rails were all banged up then fixed, then smashed, then fixed, then damaged again.

So we called the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to confirm what we were seeing.

It turns out this ill-fated intersection has indeed had its guardrails damaged three times and fixed twice in just the last three months – repaired on October 5, then again following an accident on December 11.  Just a few days after that last fix, the guardrails were a mess again, dented beyond repair and surrounded by handfuls of bright orange pylons. 

And that’s how they look today.

DelDOT couldn’t give us a target for the timing of the next fix other than to say it would be “soon.” But they did share an interesting list of the recent repair history:

  • 7/23/2014
  • 3/30/2015
  • 5/6/2015
  • 5/12/2015
  • 3/1/2016
  • 9/9/2016
  • 10/5/2018 
  • 12/11/2018

They also told us, surprisingly, that the “accident rate at this intersection is actually very low when compared to other unsignalized intersections.  This intersection has experienced a total of 36 reported crashes since 2005 and a total of 10 crashes in the last three years. The majority of crashes involved motorists failing to yield the right of way.”

And, they say, the rate of accidents at that intersection is actually low in comparison to the average in Delaware.

“Per DelDOT’s 2018 Hazard Elimination Program, the intersection has a crash index of 6.5. To put it in a better perspective, the top 25 locations in the program have crash indices between 57.5 and 110.0, so this intersection is at the very low end of accident occurrences.”


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