Public workshop held for Western Sussex Byway

Wednesday workshop to focus on ‘gateway’ idea

Delaware is planning a highway that celebrates the existing towns in the west. As opposed to a purely transportation-focused highway, byways are created to highlight routes of scenic, archaeological or cultural importance. And a public workshop was scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 4, to discuss a Western Sussex Byway Corridor Management Plan and Gateway Development project.

West Sussex is considered a “gateway” to the beach, so areas near Laurel, Seaford and Bethel are the focus of a proposed byway.

“National Scenic Byways Program was established well over a decade to recognize alternative routes of travel,” said Ann Gravatt, Delaware’s Byways Program coordinator. “It gives residents pride in where they live.”

Delaware already has six scenic byways, with each telling a unique story: Brandywine Valley, Red Clay Valley, Route 9 Coastal, Lewes, Harriet Tubman and Western Sussex.

Delaware Department of Transportation and Sussex County will host the Wednesday-night workshop at Seaford City Hall, 414 High Street in Seaford, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The public workshop will kickstart the corridor management plan, “a planning document that brings together in one place what the story of the byway is,” said Gravatt. “We talk about why it’s a byway and what the vision and goal is.”

The State will compile a list of projects, from short-term to long-term, based on funding. That could include sidewalk improvements, signage (“Welcome to” and “Now Exiting the Byway”) or enhancement of historic structures that need some attention.

“We want to brand the byway and bring some recognition that is identifiable over time,” Gravatt said. “We want to encourage people to get out of the car and enjoy what Western Sussex has to offer.”

The public will be able to share what makes Western Sussex special to them, such as historic and scenic areas, plus the river as a recreational resource.

For more information about the Western Sussex Byway, contact Ann Gravatt at (302) 760-2254, Andy Nicol, project consultant, at (407) 875-8926, or Daniel Parsons, Sussex County historic preservation planner, at (302) 535-1553.