Worsening traffic conditions on Del. Route 24 through Millsboro has officials considering a restriction on large trucks within town limits.

Worsening traffic conditions on Del. Route 24 through Millsboro has officials considering a restriction on large trucks within town limits.

At a Monday Millsboro Town Council meeting, Councilman Greg Hastings said the town’s two bodies of water – the Millsboro Pond spillway and the mouth of the Indian River – create a bottleneck condition that funnels traffic from the east side of town to the west side, and vice versa.

“I want to discuss not only truck traffic but general traffic that basically comes to a gridlock every afternoon, affecting our town, our businesses, our growth, our cleanliness and public safety,” Hastings said.

Millsboro Police Chief John Murphy said while his officers have learned to bypass heavy traffic by “picking their way down side streets,” it’s not the way he’d prefer to do business.

“Depending on where a complaint is in town and what time it comes in, officers may have to drive in the opposite direction of the incident that they’re going to [in order] to avoid the congested area where traffic is at a standstill, backed up from [U.S. Route] 113 and I don’t know how far back it goes east on Route 24,” Murphy said.

Murphy also said the police department has literally issued thousands of tickets to motorists who become frustrated with traffic and pass on the shoulder.

“It’s had no effect whatsoever,” he said. “People still do it every day.”

Chief Ron O’Neal of the Millsboro Fire Company said while police officers can maneuver down side streets, a 45-foot fire engine does not have that luxury.

“If we’re heading for the highway, we’re going out to Main Street,” O’Neal said. “I’m not an apparatus driver. I’m still a firefighter riding in the back, but I’ve cringed many times looking out that front window thinking, ‘I’m not sure how we’re going to get through this traffic.’”

Hastings has proposed a bypass of sorts that will take truck traffic north on Del. Route 30 to Zoar Road, where they will turn left and access U.S. Route 113 by making another left on Stockley Road.

Hastings said the Delaware Department of Transportation’s north/south bypass has nothing to do with this proposal, which addresses the town’s traffic issues running from east to west, and vice versa.

“My position on this is to take the proactive approach,” he said. “Millsboro has its own issue and that is traffic bottlenecking on Route 24. We have to do something.”

Hastings said if the town diverts truck traffic to this bypass, it will not only alleviate traffic through town, but it will also force DelDOT to make upgrades to the roads on the alternate route.

To enforce the new route, Hastings said the council will have to pass a resolution that no more trucks of a certain size caliber weight load are permitted through the Town of Millsboro. Violations, he said, would be met with a fine. He’s requested the council discuss the issue at its November meeting.