Letter to the Editor: DelDOT should prioritize median barriers along Del. 1


How many more motorists must die from crossover accidents on Del. 1 before the state puts barriers in medians south of Dover?

The Delaware Department of Transportation is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to accelerate travel on the southern stretches of Del. 1 but seemingly balks at paying to make Del. 1 safer. This is outrageous.

Federal guidelines do not require guardrails for medians more than 50 feet wide, which eliminates some on Del. 1. That shouldn’t preclude the Transportation Department, however, from installing guardrails to prevent crossover crashes.

In July 2018, it was reported, noting figures from the department, that nine fatal median crossover crashes killed 13 people — including one the week before that killed five members of a New Jersey family — along Del. 1 since 2005. How many others have been killed or injured in the five years since that article was published?

An entry on DelDOT’s webpage, dated July 2018, noted that the first section of high-tension cable barrier was installed in 2010 along Del. 1, and since then, high-tension cable barrier has been installed along the “entire freeway portion” of Del. 1 between Tybouts Corner and the Dover Air Force Base.

The entry continues: “Steel guardrails have been installed along the entire lengths of I-495 and various median barrier treatments exist on I-95, effectively reducing the potential for a median crossover crash on Delaware’s high-speed, high-volume freeways.” An obvious omission: The site does not say when, or if, median barriers would be installed south of Dover on Del. 1.

Two women died, and a third was injured, when the vehicle one was driving careened across the road and slammed into two cars May 6 on Del. 1 outside Milton. A barrier in the median might have saved two lives.

State officials acknowledged that cable median barriers can save lives, but because they are not required, the cost “must be balanced” against other DelDOT needs.

The Department of Transportation needs to reexamine its priorities.

Instead of building multiple, unnecessary overpasses to hasten travelers’ arrival at our beaches, it should spend that money to help them arrive alive.

George Ward


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