The City of Newark and the state have limited options in dealing with plans by the CSX railroad to close a troubled one-lane underpass.
The City of Newark and the Delaware Department of Transportation formally announced they remain opposed to any potential closing of the Casho Mill Road underpass.
City officials concedethat, while they do not have the authority to keep the underpass open, are pursuing options that will help deter the passage of high vehicles that get stuck.
Railroads have extensive legal protections in place that limit the power of local and state governments.
For example, it was determined a few years back that the state had no power to control idling locomotives located near a residential area in Bear.
“Casho Mill Road is a vital traffic route in Newark, not just for residents, but for emergency responders, as well,” stated Mayor Jerry Clifton. “While the ultimate decision on closure lies in other hands, the city and our state partners will explore every available option to make sure the underpass remains open, and that people feel safe using it.”
According to DelDOT, Casho Mill Road sees over 11,000 vehicles per day, making it a high-volume traffic route.
DelDOT has made several advanced warning improvements in recent years to address the underpass’s low clearance, including updated over height vehicle detectors and warning signage.
Ongoing design discussions with DelDOT to reduce collision rates for over height vehicles have included additional warning lights and possible traffic calming measures, such as center median islands.
For added pedestrian safety, discussions have also been held on adding center refuge islands to the crosswalks on either side of the underpass.