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Delaware state officials announced at an August forum that plans were finalized to add cable guardrails to parts of Delaware Route 1 and I-95. This announcement was made about a month after a tragic car accident on Route 1 South that killed five out of six family members riding in a truck.
The meeting was hosted by State Senator Stephanie Hansen and State Representative Ed Osienski, who head the House and Senate transportation committees. Two DelDOT engineers at the meeting stated that federal and state funds would both be used to pay for the four-million-dollar project.
The guardrails on Route 1 will be located from Odessa to Smyrna, and south of Smyrna to south of the Biddle’s Corner Toll Plaza. On I-95, they will be installed from Pennsylvania’s state line to Harvey Road.
Officials reported that DelDOT initiated the project last December, in response to the fatalities that had occurred in the areas. They stated that it was not just a response to this particular crash.
The horrific accident occurred over the July 4th holiday, when the family was driving back from an Ocean City, MD vacation. The 61-year old father and four daughters, ages 13-20, all lost their lives when a van swerved, crossed over the median, and hit their truck. The five victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
The wife and mother was the only survivor; she was hospitalized and went through six different surgeries after the crash.
At the forum, the engineers stated that high-tension cable guardrails work better than steel barriers and concrete with certain types of medians. The cable is more flexible, and is therefore more forgiving when hit; vehicles can rebound or deflect off them easier. They are also much less costly than concrete guardrails.
These guardrails are used on roads across the United States, and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration reports that they absorb force better than metal or concrete. This reduces driver impact and crash severity.
They are not guaranteed to prevent fatal or severe accidents, however.
According to the Delaware Department of Transportation Director of Community Relations, back in the 1990s when Del. 1 was built, the safety standards at the time did not call for a barrier in the area where the fatal crash occurred.
At the forum, Senator Hansen explained that former senator James Vaughn had warned senators about the dangers when Route 1 was under construction. She stated that Vaughn thought it was a dangerous highway and was hazardous to drivers.
Now that the project has been finalized, it can go out for bidding. Completion time is set for the end of 2018, although a construction starting date has not been announced.
Highway accidents are some of the most devastating kinds of motor vehicle crashes and can cause serious injuries and death. If you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident, contact a Delaware car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Call 302-834-8484 today, or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford, with offices conveniently located in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford.