GEORGETOWN — Sussex County leaders have approved a property agreement with the Delaware Department of Transportation in the realignment of Park Avenue — a linchpin in the county’s plan to extend Delaware Coastal Airport’s main runway.
On Tuesday, County Council unanimously accepted the disposition of 10 county-owned parcels of land in the area of Park Avenue in the first phase of the two-step project.
The land has been appraised by DelDOT through its standard process at the amount of $350,000. However, Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson said the county opted for DelDOT’s alternate option.
“DelDOT is asking us to donate this property for minimum price because in Phase 2 of the Park Avenue (project), they are going to provide intersection improvements for our two entrances, on existing Park Avenue,” he said.
Both entrances are to the county’s industrial park. One entrance is at the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s location; the other is at the Baltimore Avenue entrance of the business park.
“Significant savings for the county, quite frankly ... and an ideal solution for their entrances,” Mr. Lawson said.
Relocation of a portion of Park Avenue will allow for another 500-foot extension of Runway 4-22 to 6,000 feet, which will enable the county-owned airport to serve larger aircraft. Two portions of Park Avenue will become cul-de-sacs for local traffic only in this plan.
The estimated cost for the Park Avenue project is about $50 million, said DelDOT spokesman Charles McLeod.
According to DelDOT, Phase 1 involves:
The realignment will provide a continuous U.S. 9 truck bypass from U.S. 113 to U.S. 9, east of Georgetown; will improve traffic operations; and will remove the truck bypass route from residential areas of Park Avenue and South Bedford Street.
The design for Phase 1 is complete. Following the bid process, construction is scheduled to begin in the fall or early 2022, according to DelDOT’s project page. The first phase’s completion timeline is two years.
Phase 2, which is in design and planning, entails improvements to Park Avenue’s intersection with U.S. 9. This step includes reconstruction of Park Avenue and U.S. 9 to provide appropriate turn lanes, signals and railroad crossing upgrades.
An estimated 65 parcels will be impacted by this phase of the project.