Delaware Roads - DE 896
DE 896 is so numbered because of another state's route (PA 896), a shame for such a major road in the state. It's important enough to have held onto US 301 ever since it stole 301 from MD 3 into Baltimore, but now a lot more of 896 is shared, because at Middletown, US 301 changed to head north to US 40 instead of east to US 13.
The southern end of DE 896 at US 13, with oversize TOLL banners for DE 1, one old US 13 shield (pick which one!), and all the signs in a somewhat used condition. The faded blue squares, standard DRBA signage (look up the acronym if you must), were not faded in HNTB's photo, which I had up here until late 2007.
Old Summit Bridge Rd. on the south side of the C-D Canal, looking west at the current Summit Bridge carrying DE 896 along with US 301 and DE 71. That's on my US 301 page, but because the old road was never US 301, it goes on this page. It also doesn't sign the Bethel Church Rd. detour for NORTH 301, just 896 - also ignoring NORTH 71 and SOUTH 15. Bethel Church Rd. is DE 15 to the south of current DE 896 and that route once began from this very road.
Looking left and right from the old wye where DE 896 (left) and DE 71 (right) split on the north side of the bridge. Because this intersection was a wye from the old bridge, with a northern leg that has now been modified to carry mainline 71, the transition between legs is rather awkward - look how far the double-yellow line swings away from the edge of pavement.
Looking east at the stub and the wye.
In 2009, there was a construction office on the old bridge stub for a project on the current Summit Bridge. The stub on this end is slightly more visible than the southern one, although trees and power lines obscure them both from the respective other sides. Now this one is framed by construction barriers, so it's hard to see what it looks like normally.
In 2012, the office is gone, but the barriers remain. The second photo is the best I can show you of the abutment's concrete among the overtaking flora.
Looking west toward the setting sun and the rising Summit Bridge.
After picking my way down to the canal, I can get much clearer photos of Summit Bridge, and also the NS railroad bridge to the east.
Water also brings life.
SB at the beginning of US 301. That means that DE 896 should not be signed TO US 301, but should just be co-signed with it. It also means that US 40 should not be signed TO US 301, or as US 301, either. Although it would have been nice to bring US 301 back to US 13 somehow, that hasn't been the case here for many years. The rest of the DE 896/US 301 photos are on the US 301 page, linked below.
The blue TOLL sign should just be all-white text. These are northbound.
According to Alex Nitzman, this is just the DelDOT practice he terms "bolt sharing." He says it's not unheard of, but I barely saw any other examples of it in my coverage of the state (this US 202/DE 141 assembly has just one bolt shared). It would be easy to fit SOUTH 896 WEST BUSINESS 2, and just make the last sign hang a little lower, but that would cost another $5 for bolts. (Side note, Business DE 2 was decommissioned in 2013, so now there are enough bolts to go around.)
Onto US 301 and 301/896
DE 273 and old DE 896
Across Maryland to PA 896
To DE 1
Onto US 13
Onto US 40
To DE 2
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