The Delaware Department of Transportation is taking additional steps to deal with toll-evading trucks using rural roads in Cecil County, MD.
Truck traffic spiked on those roads when the Route 301 toll road went into operation in the Middletown area. Town and county officials have torn up rural roads that were not built to handle large trucks.
Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy said discussions with Delaware Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan continue to take place.
In a letter to McCarthy, Cohen said DelDOT will:
- Install a dozen additional signs regarding truck restrictions on the local roads surrounding US 301.
- DelDOT agreed to provide funding to support paid truck police enforcement efforts.
- A virtual truck weighing station on Warwick Road will go into operation after a testing period.
- DelDOT will again offer a free Delaware E-ZPass transponder promotion to anyone – including Maryland residents. With a Delaware E-ZPass, anyone using US 301 30 times in 30 days will receive a 50 percent discount off the toll.
“I am encouraged and optimistic that, in working with DelDOT and all agencies, collectively, we will come to a resolution that addresses both the safety of our citizens and the impact on our roadways,” said McCarthy.
Maryland and Cecil County officials will meet at the Cecilton Volunteer Fire Hall next Wednesday, March 20th at 5:30 p.m. This meeting will be an opportunity for the state to share information regarding the new 301 Bypass. The public is invited to attend and ask questions, according to a release from Cecil County government.
The toll road has also generated criticism from commuters and some Middletown residents, who cite the $4 per car or light truck cost of tolls on the route that has no human toll takers.
GPS and Waze technology also allows drivers to pick routes that allow tolls to be bypassed.
The toll road aims to reduce congestion in Middletown. Despite Maryland building a divided Route 301 into Delaware decades ago, the state and residents argued over a route for decades before action was taken. Economic downturns also pushed back funding.
Delaware has refrained from gas tax increases and has relied on tolls and other fees to continue to pursue a more aggressive highway construction and repair program.