The Delaware State Route 1 or SR-1 is a state route in the U.S. state of Delaware. The road is a highway and toll road that connects the urbanized north of the state with the capital Dover and the east coast. The highway section has up to 2×3 lanes, and the highway heads south as far as Dover. Then follows a four-lane chapter along the Delaware coast to the Maryland border. The route is 166 kilometers long.
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the State Route 1 at Bear.
The highway begins with 2×3 lanes at an interchange with Interstate 95. This area is highly urbanized, and is part of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The city itself is about 60 kilometers to the northeast. Roughly speaking, the portion to the north of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal is urbanized, to the south of which it is mostly rural. This important canal is crossed via a six-lane cable-stayed bridge, and the toll road section begins. This part of Delaware is quieter, with the occasional larger town. You pass Dover, the capital of Delaware, which has only 35,000 inhabitants. In Dover, US 13 turns south, a four-lane main road to Salisbury, Maryland. The highway section ends here, and the road turns into a four-lane main road.
After this, the route begins along the coast of Delaware, initially a few miles from the coast. At Milford, exit US 113, a four-lane trunk road to Georgetown and Ocean City in Maryland. Some exits of the SR-1, which is called the Coastal Highway here, are grade separated. At Dewey Beach, SR-1 runs right along the coast, with a lagoon on the west side, and the sea on the east side. This narrow coastal strip is almost continuously built-up. Cross an inlet via the Indian River Inlet Bridge. At Fenwick Island, SR-1 crosses the border into Maryland, then SR-528 continues from Maryland to Ocean City.
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In the 1940s, a highway system was developed with a route across the Delmarva Peninsula from northern Delaware to Cape Charles. When the national network was developed in the 1950s, the route was canceled because traffic on existing US 13 did not warrant a freeway.
In 1952, the bypass of Dover, the capital of Delaware, opened as a four-lane single-storey road. Because there were no grade-separated intersections, congestion quickly increased. Strong commercial developments along the bypass exacerbated this problem. In the late 1950s, alternatives were developed to address this problem.
Beginning in 1970, proposals were made for a north-south turnpike through Delaware, connecting I-95 to the Dover area. In the 1970s, it was also proposed to build a highway from Wilmington to Norfolk in Virginia, but this plan was rejected. After twenty years of talking and planning, they had not made any progress and in 1983 they started again with a clean slate. In 1985 three alternative routes were presented; across, west, or east of US 13. In 1987, the Environmental Impact Statement was drafted and a route was approved by the FHWA and the EPA. The final alignment chosen was a series of compromises from the previous alternatives.
In July 1987, construction began on the first 10 miles south of I-95. This was constructed toll-free. In 1988 the construction of the toll road section for 27 kilometers from Dover to Smyrna started. In 1991 the first section opened south of Christiana. By December 1993, both the Christiana – Tybouts Corner and the Dover – Smyrna section were completed. On December 21, 1995, the bridge opened over the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal at St. Georges. At the same time, 11 kilometers of the toll road were completed in that area. In November 1999, Odessa’s 12-kilometer bypass opened. In July 2000, the toll road was extended 2 kilometers at Dover. The last section, between Smyrna and Odessa, started construction in 2000 and was completed in 2003.
In 2012, the Indian River Inlet Bridge opened. On October 17, 2013, the reconstruction of the interchange between SR-1 and I-95 in Christiana was completed. Flyovers have been installed. The reconstruction cost $147 million.
Later, a number of intersections between Dover and Milford were replaced by grade-separated connections, such as at Little Heaven (2018), Fredericia (2011 and 2018) and three connections at Milford in the period 2012-2018. However, it has not become a freeway at all.
State Route 1 is a toll road in the administration of the state of Delaware. The toll road has an open toll system, with two large toll stations on the main carriageways and partial tolls elsewhere on entrances and exits, but it is possible to travel toll-free between some connections. The level of the tolls varies, $2 is charged on weekdays and $6 on weekends if you drive the entire length of the toll road. The toll is therefore very low, especially on weekdays. As of 1 October 2007 there is a difference in tolls between working days and the weekend, mainly aimed at generating extra money for transport projects.
Unlike the other toll roads in the region that use sequential exit numbering, the SR-1 has a distance-based exit numbering, notably that this runs in kilometers.