Delaware Department of Transportation will finish installing a new traffic light at the exit of the Gateway West shopping center. The light is located on Saulsbury Road between North Street and Route 8. Officials believe the signal will decrease the number accidents at the intersection.


    Over the next few weeks, the Delaware Department of Transportation will finish installing a new traffic light at the exit of the Gateway West shopping center. The light is located on Saulsbury Road between North Street and Route 8.

    With a high volume of traffic, delays in traffic movement and a larger than normal amount of vehicle crashes in the area, Mike Williams, spokesman for DelDOT, said the location has met the thresholds for a traffic signal.

    Frank Mott, owner of Mac Exchange, which is the store that sits closest to the entrance and exit, said he’s not surprised a light is going in.

    “I knew it was coming long before they put it in,” he said.

    Williams said with the new Eden Hill Medical center scheduled to open soon along with the attached residential and commercial properties now being developed traffic will only increase. There are new commercial stores along Route 8 and increased development west of Dover to consider as well.

    “Traffic is something that is always going up in volume,” he said.

    Workers still need to finish the curb work and pedestrian walkways before they activate the signal. Williams said July 25 it would be active in 10 to 14 days.

    He also pointed out that the signal would be linked by fiber optics with the other signals along that stretch from North Street to Walker Road. This means people traveling from North Street to Route 8 on Saulsbury Road – and vice versa – won’t hit a red light in the middle of the block at the new light.

    The light should improve the traffic flow that Mott said he sees backed up past his store on a regular basis and why he sometimes has trouble getting out if he has somewhere to go in the middle of the day.

    Williams said when traffic is delayed, that can lead to more than normal amounts of accidents in the area.

    “The delays go hand in hand with crashes,” he said, adding that when people have a long time to wait it encourages them to bolt out into traffic or make a left turn and misjudge the timing.

    Lt. Paul Bernat, Dover Police Department patrol unit commander, said although the intersection probably isn’t the most dangerous in the city, it does have many close calls because people take chances.

    Since January 2006, there have been 15 accidents reported to the police, four resulting in personal injury and 11 in property damage, he said.

    In addition to the traffic light installation, DelDOT recently made improvements to the turning lanes at the nearby intersection of Route 8 and Saulsbury Road, which Williams said should prevent wild turning practices. This also will help control the increased flow of traffic, he added.

Email Jayne Gest at jayne.gest@doverpost.com