On Monday, June 10, 2013, Milford City Council heard a request from Reverend Royce Andrus, pastor of the Lighthouse Christian Center, regarding the traffic pattern on Carpenter Pit Road and Calvary Road. Currently, the two roads only allow one-way traffic under DelDot guidelines, and Rev. Andrus, along with Fred Fowler, developer of Lighthouse Estates and Jenny Bartow, Director of Operations of the Hampton Inn, requested that the City of Milford consider adopting the two roads. According to Rev. Andrus, DelDot officials have indicated that if the roads were adopted by the city, they could be configured, signed and signaled for two-way traffic.
“There are several reasons why this would be beneficial to the city,” said Rev. Andrus. “First, this would provide a north exit to Route 1, which would not only benefit our church when it is built, but also Woodshaven, Lighthouse Estates and the Hampton Inn. It would also make the road safer, as I personally have seen near head-on collisions when people go the wrong way down that road.” Jenny Bartow of the Hampton Inn agreed with Rev. Andrus.
“On a day-to-day basis, I deal with guests who are not familiar with Milford, who leave our hotel and return, sometimes in tears, because they almost had an accident,” Ms. Bartow explained. “We have an 81 room hotel that is booked solid for the summer. That means as many as 100 cars per day entering and exiting the parking lot. Every single day, I get complaints from guests about how difficult it is to get in and out of the hotel, and some are leaving Milford with a bad opinion of the town.” Rev. Andrus said that he had been told by officials at DelDot that local legislators have proposed funding for the interim design should the city agree to adopt the two roads. Council members, however, had several concerns about adopting the roads.
“This bridge was built incorrectly, was it not?” asked Councilmember Skip Pikus. Rev. Andrus stated that the church contracted with Scott Engineering who obtained all approvals necessary for the bridge. He further explained that the church had paid $2.3 million for all of the infrastructure that is currently in place, and part of that infrastructure included what was supposed to be a two-lane bridge. The bridge itself is two lanes, but the design was incorrect and it did not align properly with the roads already in place. DelDot required that the roads be one-way up to the bridge due to the sharp curve that exists as cars exit the bridge.
“DelDot admitted that the bridge was inspected and approved, and basically told us that the bridge was fine, it was the alignment that was wrong,” explained City Manager Richard Carmean. “The problem now is that the state wants the problem corrected before the subdivision is completed.” Mr. Fowler told council members that there were currently 17 homes sold in Lighthouse Estates.
“Mr. Carmean and I have been to Dover to discuss this matter and they have given us no answers,” said Council member Owen Brooks. Council member James Starling suggested that the matter be turned over to the Public Works Committee for further discussion. Council member Brooks agreed and suggested that public hearings be held, and that DelDot officials be invited to explain what they are requiring and to explain how the project was approved initially if the design of the bridge was flawed.
“I realize that some of the discussion tonight is about houses and businesses that are proposed that will benefit from this road being fixed,” said Ms. Bartow. “However, I do think that council needs to be aware that they have a hotel whose business does suffer because this issue is not addressed.”
Because the subdivision adjacent to the road is annexed into the city, David Rutt, City Solicitor, suggested that council review whether those roads were part of the annexation. Council agreed to refer the matter to the Public Works Committee who will review the annexation documentation and begin the process of determining whether the city should agree to Rev. Andrus’ request.