Delaware Roads - DE 1/DE 7

and DE 1/7

DE 1 parallels US 13, and has helped alleviate the crowded beachgoing corridor as far south as Dover, where 1 and US 113 multiplex as a surface highway. Plans to turn more of DE 1 into a freeway exist, but it's going very slowly one interchange at a time. The top photo, courtesy HNTB Corp., shows off the kilometer posts that graced DE 1 until 2003 or so. DelDOT decided that the metrixperiment was a bust, but the kilometric exit numbering remains alongside the mileposts, for extra confusion.

Construction of a new cable-stayed bridge over the Indian River Inlet, matching the C&D Canal bridge to the north (seen below), seen NB. Crews are working from both ends and meeting in the middle so that the cables can be tied one at a time and keep the bridge balanced. It's quite a feat to come from both directions and join snugly in the middle, especially since a complete bridge faces much different stresses than two independent halves and may deform noticeably to its final shape.

SB across the current bridge, looking just to the west. You can see how many cables are already tied in and how many have yet to go due to the missing central bridge deck. That also means the connections to the mainland on either side have to wait - everything must be done in a balanced manner. Because each cable carries all of the forces (weight, wind shear, vehicle reactions, on and on) for its particular little slice of bridge, there's relatively little connection longitudinally through the bridge deck, just enough to keep it connected as a unified whole.

An eastward view from the nearby marina as the bridge nears completion, courtesy MRK.

You may think this photo was taken northbound, but it's just off DE 1 SB. DE 1B is a spur into Rehoboth Beach, and ends at DE 1A, which is a loop through the community.

US 9 multiplexes straight ahead to get to Lewes (to the left is the old alignment, now the Business route). DE 23 and DE 1D used to also begin right here, at Five Points. However, that would have made this Six Points (I don't know which point was neglected originally, although it may be the southern leg of DE 1, which just feels a little newer). So, now 1D turns a right angle into the former end of DE 23, avoiding the Four Points that still come together, and they end at each other at a short connector road to US 9 and... no, DE 404, not US 404. There is no US 404, not even a 204 or 304. There is also no DE 1C, meaning 1D, which came into existence after 1990, was intentionally lettered non-sequentially.

Old DE 1, taken just south of DE 14 in Milford.

SB at the DE 12 future interchange in Frederica, which was a larval intersection until recently but has been enfolded by a cocoon of closure. Just like on the Indian River Inlet bridge, there's a roadway-wide machine set up to pave all of the bridge deck concrete in one go.

Looking east and west at the roadway embankments, starting to get sodded so that they look natural by the time the interchange butterfly emerges.

To keep the entomological theme going, this sign makes me feel like expecting a butterfly and getting a moth. It's funky, noteworthy in its own right, but not what I'd like to see.

The trailblazers for the Bay Bridge are scattered up and down US 13, and this one is at the end of the DE 1 Connector to 13 (which is more heavily trafficked than DE 1 itself into US 113 much of the time). Assuming this is pointing toward the US 50/US 301 Chesapeake Bay Bridge, it's in an odd place, because US 301 is running NE-SW well to the west, and US 50 runs E-W well to the south. It could be for DE 12 or 14, using two-lane roads westward through Maryland.

Yes, it's interesting that there's a change machine before the toll, but the real problem here is the all-caps yelling at you. THIS IS SOUTH SMYRNA, DAMMIT!!!

Southbound across the Chesapeake & Delaware (C&D) Canal in St. George's just as the sun appears over the horizon. The arch to the east is the old US 13 St. George's Bridge dating to 1932, serving all traffic for 63 years until the new DE 1 bridge opened. As Jim Dietrich explained, "Since the town of St. George's is split by the C&D, DelDOT and the USACE [Army Corps of Engineers] decided to leave the [US 13] bridge for local traffic and to help prevent the C&D Canal Bridge from becoming overcrowded [in peak traffic conditions or unusual circumstances]..."

Another pass before sunrise, with the last two views looking back north from Exit 148.

What I found interesting: the BUSINESS DISTRICT box (why not just text?), tabs not attached to BGS's (like in North Carolina), and the DE 300 shield is awfully squished. DE 1 is a young highway, but already has several demi-generations of signs, thanks to the fact that each segment has opened separately. The first photo is courtesy Doug Kerr.

The beginnings of progress in 2012 to free up capacity at the DE 1/DE 7/I-95 interchange. Photos head north under the new Christiana Mall connector, skirting around the central area cleared for the future I-95 SB direct two-lane ramp to DE 1 SB. Once that opened, the weekly bottleneck stretching back from the old cloverleaf ramp into New Jersey (across the Delaware Memorial Bridge) disappeared, leaving just the weekly bottleneck stretching back from the I-295 merge into New Jersey. The last couple of photos head up the single-lane ramp to I-95 NB, which will become a more gradual two-lane ramp.

A few months later in June, I head southbound from I-95 to DE 1/7, and now there are a lot of structures poking out of the dirt. The piers and walls are getting ready to receive beams, the next step before the deck can go on. The progression of piers will take I-95 traffic south to the Delaware shore, and DE 1 SB will be realigned to right-merge into itself. The retaining wall will be for local traffic leaving I-95, which will have to cross over DE 1 to get to Exit 164, DE 7, and the Christiana Mall. DE 7 now follows the local ramps on each side of the interchange instead of joining DE 1 just south of I-95.

In August 2013, the new I-95 SB ramp to DE 1 is in but not yet open, so DE 1/7 SB are in their final configuration around the west of it. Among the ramps here are a left entrance to the DE 1 freeway, a right split to the C/D road that leads to Christiana Mall and DE 7 SB, and (foreground of 2nd photo) the I-95 NB flyover to DE 1/7 NB.

Exit 164 to DE 7 alone

Onto US 9
Onto DE 404
Many exits to US 13
Exit 119A to DE 300
Exit 152 to DE 72
Exit 165 to I-95
Exit 165B to I-295
Exit 165B to I-495
DE 1 on Steve Anderson's
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