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Delaware Route 1 is a 103.02 mile (165.79 km) long, four-to-six lane highway going from the Marylandmarker-Delawaremarker line on the eastern Atlanticmarker shoreline to the Delaware Turnpikemarker (Interstate 95) outside of Wilmingtonmarker.

The highway, which came into existence in the late 1970s, was originally a two-lane road signed as Delaware Route 14, but was truncated to Milfordmarker when the Delaware Department of Transportation adopted a U.S. Highway-style system for its state routes. From the early 1970s to 1995, the highway ended at is what is now U.S. Route 113, but in the mid-1970s, the DOT studied a "Dovermarker Extension" of the Delaware Turnpike, which evolved into today's Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway.

Route description

Delaware/Maryland State Line to Lewes

Delaware Route 1 starts at the Maryland/Delaware State Line at the intersection with Delaware Route 54 in Fenwick Island, Delawaremarker at the border with Ocean City, Marylandmarker. The road, mostly four lanes with six-lane sections in the resort areas, follows the Atlantic shore line through Fenwick Island State Parkmarker, South Bethanymarker and Bethany Beachmarker before reaching the Delaware Seashore State Parkmarker. Upon entering the park, Delaware Route 1 crosses over the Indian River Inlet, a connection between the Rehoboth and Indian River Bays and the Atlantic Ocean itself. Currently, the twin span box-beam bridges, constructed in the mid-1970s during a major widening project, are being replaced with a cable-stayed bridge (similar in design to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Bridgemarker) that will allow both the State of Delaware and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to eventually dredge and widen the inlet.

Past the inlet, Delaware Route 1 continues north through the state park, passing lookout towers used by the U.S. Army's Coastal Artillery forces during World War II, until the road enters Dewey Beachmarker, a popular "fun spot" in the same cailber as that of Fort Lauderdale, Floridamarker. It is here in Dewey Beach that Delaware Route 1A branches off and heads towards Rehoboth Beachmarker, while Route 1 curves towards the left and then crosses over the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal on a high-level, twin span crossing (completed in the mid-1980s) before reabsorbing Route 1A. Between the northern junction of Route 1A and Lewes, Route 1, now a six-lane road, passes through an array of outlet shopping centers in Midwaymarker (known collectively as the "Rehoboth Outlets"), before intersecting with U.S. Route 9 and Delaware Route 404 near Lewesmarker. U.S. Route 9 allows a direct access to the Cape May-Lewes Ferrymarker to the Garden State Parkway and the New Jerseymarker shore, while Delaware Route 404 allows access to the Chesapeake Bay Bridgemarker, via U.S. Route 50 near Denton, Marylandmarker.

Lewes to Dover Air Force Base

the U.S. Route 9/Delaware Route 404 intersection, and crossing over the Delaware Coast Line Railway's Lewes Branch, Route 1, now known as "The Coastal Highway," starts a 20-mile (32 km) run through a rural stretch of Sussex Countymarker, going past the Primehook National Wildlife Refuge near Miltonmarker, while at the same time, intersecting both Delaware Routes 5 and 16 in the process. At the former intersection of Route 1 and Delaware Route 30, which now follows a different alignment in the area, Delaware Route 1 Business, a former two-lane stretch of Delaware Route 1 breaks off and the roadway continues east of Milford, Delawaremarker on the "Milford Bypass", where it intersects with Delaware Route 36 on a diamond interchange. Unlike a true bypass, which has grade-separated interchanges, the Milford Bypass has both grade-separated interchanges and at-grade intersections, of which one of them intersects with Delaware Route 14, an east-west state highway that originally went from Fenwick Island to Harringtonmarker, but was truncated to Milford in 1978 when the Delaware Dept. of Transportation (DelDOT) renumbered its state highway system to be consistent with the numbering used for the Federal (U.S.) Highway System.

of Delaware Route 14, the Milford Bypass portion of Delaware Route 1 ends with the junction of Route 1 with U.S. Route 113. Prior to 2004, both Delaware Route 1 and U.S. Route 113 continued north together to Dover Air Force Basemarker as a multiple highway route, but after numerous petitions by DelDOT, AASHTO, which governs the regulation of designating Interstate and U.S. Highways, allowed DelDOT to truncate U.S. Route 113 at this interchange. Ironically, prior to 1992, the Del. Route 1/U.S. Route 113 interchange served as the northern terminus for Del. Route 1, but with the construction of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway, DelDOT extended the Del. Route 1 designation north of this interchange to prevent a "gap" between the Fenwick Island-Milford section and the toll highway.

Past U.S. Route 113, the highway continues north towards Dover, passing Fredericamarker (on a high-speed bypass), where it intersects Delaware Route 12, and Little Heaven before crossing over the St. Jones River on a high-level crossing that was built in the mid-1980s as part of a U.S. Route 113 widening project between Dover and Milford. Past the St. Jones River crossing, Del. Route 1 now intersects with Delaware Route 9, by a grade-separated interchange, which was completed in October 2009. Delaware Route 9 is a two-lane rural road that, prior to the completion of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway, served as a "bypass" around the usually congested U.S. Route 13.

Dover Air Force Base to Wilmington

passing Delaware Route 9, Delaware Route 1 becomes the 51-mile (82 km) tolled "Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway" (originally called the "Relief Route," the current name being dedicated after the dedication of the Korean War Veterans Memorialmarker in Washington, D.C.marker in 1995). After passing another exit, for access to both the base itself and its housing complex, Route 1 then splits off with the former U.S. Route 113 highway at Delaware Route 10 and then follows a high-speed four-lane highway east of Dover. This section, opened in 1992 and built (like all of its sections) to Interstate Highway standards, was the first highway on the East Coast to be marked with metric measurements, as it was anticipated during the administration of then-President Bill Clinton that the standard U.S. measurement would be dropped and the metric system be adopted. Although the route is now marked with standard milepost markers, the experimental signs with metric measurements are still in place today — the exit numbers on the highway are still in metric as opposed to the standard U.S. milepost exit system used on the majority of Interstate Highways in the U.S.

After passing through the toll plaza in Dover, which has, since 2004, both cash and high-speed E-ZPass lanes, Del. Route 1 intersects with U.S. Route 13 for the first time, north of both the toll plaza and Dover International Speedwaymarker. Between Dover and Wilmington, Del. Route 1 will intersect with U.S. Route 13 a total of four times, with indirect access to the highway a total of five times, all of them via Delaware State Highway routes or with U.S. Route 40.

of the first Del. Rt. 1/U.S. Rt. 13 interchange, the highway roughly parallels U.S. Route 13 through the northern fringes of Dover, interchanges with U.S. Route 13 in the southern part of Smyrnamarker, and enters New Castle Countymarker to the east of Smyrna. At the third interchange with U.S. Rt. 13, which served as a temporary northern terminus between 1992 and 2003, the highway crosses over U.S. Rt. 13 and then travels for the next eight miles (13 km) past the small rural community of Townsendmarker, before crossing over the Appoquinimink River and intersecting with Delaware Route 299 to Odessamarker and Middletownmarker. Past Del. Route 299, Del. Route 1 then crosses over U.S. Route 13 and the Drawyer Creek and then intersects with Delaware Route 896 in Boyds Corner.

Del. Route 896, the road then crosses over U.S. Route 13 before reaching the Biddles Corner Toll Plaza, the first toll plaza on the East Coast to have both high-speed E-ZPass and cash lanes, and, with some design changes, has served as a model for dual-speed mainline toll barriers on both the Pennsylvania Turnpike, New Jersey Turnpike, as well as the Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway. Passing through the toll barrier, the highway then crosses the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal on the massive steel and concrete Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Bridgemarker, which was originally opened in 1995 as a replacement for the aging St. Georges Bridgemarker, but now serves as an integral part of the Delaware Route 1/U.S. Route 13 corridor between Dover and Wilmington. It is also north of the toll plaza that Del. Route 1 becomes a six-lane highway, with the six lanes going approximately five miles (8 km) until Del. Route 1 splits off with U.S. Route 13 (which "rides along" with Del. Route 1 north of Delaware Route 72) in Tybouts Corner.

North of the Del. Route 1/U.S. Route 13 split, the road, now back to four lanes, starts a short five mile (8 km) trip north towards I-95/Delaware Turnpikemarker, passing U.S. Route 40 and Delaware Route 273 before merging on with Delaware Route 7 near the Christiana Mallmarker in Christianamarker. After merging with Del. Route 7, the Del. Route 1/7 combination continues north until it intersects with I-95/Delaware Turnpike at a classic cloverleaf interchange, and then immediately interchanges with Delaware Route 58 near Churchmans Crossingmarker. After the Route 58 interchange, the Route 1 designation is dropped, and the now at-grade highway becomes just Route 7.



of October 1, 2007, the Delaware Dept. of Transportation (DelDOT) charges a total of $2 on weekdays ($4 on weekends) for the entire length of highway, while it charges a $.50 toll at U.S. Route 13 in North Dover (southbound off/northbound on), Delaware Route 896 in Boyds Corner (northbound off/southbound on) and a $.25 toll on U.S. Route 13 in South Smyrna (southbound off/northbound on). Unlike the Delaware Turnpikemarker, which charges a $4 toll for a total of 11.2 miles (the highest toll road rate in the U.S.), the lower rate on Del. Route 1 was possible due the majority of the funding (60% total) from the Federal government.

Interchange numbering

Unlike the Delaware Turnpikemarker, Interstate 95 in Delaware, Interstate 495, Delaware Route 141, and the New Jersey Turnpike, which use a sequential exit system, or the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Atlantic City Expressway, and Garden State Parkway, which use a mileage-based system, the Route 1 Turnpike utilizes a kilometer-based system, in anticipation of a mid-1990s conversion of all measurements in the U.S. from the standard "English" system to the metric system (see Metrication in the United States). All distance markers were in kilometers as well as all exit numbers. Since then, the distance markers were replaced with standard milemarkers, but the exit numbers are still in metric. In addition, the exits north of U.S. 13 in Tybouts Corner were in standard miles, reflecting Delaware Route 1 mileage from Ocean City, Marylandmarker, but were converted in 1995 with the opening of the C & D Canal Bridge.


As the main north-south state highway in Delaware, as well as the primary route to the Atlantic Seashore, Delaware Route 1 is currently seeing major problems with its existing infrastructure, most of which dates back to its 1978 inception. In addition to the building of a new cable-stayed bridge over the Indian River Inlet to replace aging twin box-beam bridges built in the 1970s, DelDOT has been rebuilding Del. Route 1 between Dewey Beach and the Rehoboth Outlets, primarily to give Del. Route 1 a "Main Street" feel, but at the same time, making improvements on underground utilities. At the U.S. Route 9/Delaware Route 404 junction near Lewes, DelDOT is currently undertaking a widening project that will have Del. Route 1 widened to a total of six lanes between the junction and Delaware Route 1A, relieving congestion to both beachgoers and those wishing to shop at the numerous outlet stores that dot the area.

Even on the toll road between Dover and Wilmington, there are plans to widen the highway between Tybouts Corner and I-95/Delaware Turnpike to six lanes, as a need to reduce congestion, as well as rebuilding the Del. Rt. 1/I-95 cloverleaf interchange to one with high-speed ramps, allowing southbound and northbound traffic to access I-95 without having to "mix" in with merging traffic (the new Del. Rt. 58 bridge over I-95/Del. Turnpike, completed in 2006, being long enough to accompany the additional lanes). In addition to the expansion projects, plans are underway to build an "extension" of the highway, which will carry the U.S. Route 301 designation, that will bypass Middletown and allow an alternative route to Baltimore, Marylandmarker and Washington, D.C.marker, via the Chesapeake Bay Bridgemarker, without having to travel on the heavily congested I-95/John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway on Maryland's Western Shore.

Other plans, including rebuilding Del. Route 1 to a "semi-freeway" (similar in nature to U.S. Route 301 in Maryland) have also been floated, but the future currently lies in the possible privatization of both Del. Route 1 and the Delaware Turnpike, as well as the possible upgrading of the highway to an Interstate Highway route (most likely Interstate 101). If an Interstate 101 is built, it will most likely connect with Delaware Route 1 at Dover A.F.B. (via the short-distanced "Puncheon Run Connector," a low-speed grade-separated highway connecting Del. Route 1 with U.S. Route 13 near Camdenmarker), and with current reductions in federal spending, and may serve as "Maryland-Dover Section" of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway, bringing the highway almost up to the same state-to-state classification as that of both the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the New Jersey Turnpike.

Major intersections

County Location Mile

# Destinations Notes
Sussexmarker Fenwick Islandmarker
Bethany Beachmarker 6.08
Dewey Beachmarker 17.17
Rehoboth Beachmarker Interchange
Oyster House Road Interchange; no southbound entrance
Midwaymarker 21.13
Carpenters Corner 22.55 Cape May-Lewes Ferrymarker South end of US 9 overlap
Five Points 23.67
US 9 west / US 9 Bus. east / DE 404 to DE 23 / DE 1DGeorgetownmarker
North end of US 9 overlap
Miltonmarker 30.46
39.91 Interchange; northbound exit and southbound entrance
41.42 Interchange
Northeast 10th Street – North Milfordmarker
43.96 Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
Thompsonville Road – Thompsonville, South Bowers
Fredericamarker 49.89
Bowers Beach Road – Bowers Beachmarker
Clapham Road – Magnoliamarker, Rising Sun, Moores Lake Former US 113 Alt. north
Road 107 – Magnoliamarker Interchange
Dover AFBmarker 56.22 91
South end of freeway
57.2 92 Dover AFB Commercial Gate Northbound exit and entrance
57.8 93 Dover AFB Main Gate, Visitors
59.0 95 Former US 113 north
60.2 97 Salisburymarker, Norfolkmarker No northbound exit
Dovermarker 60.8 98 Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Dover Toll Plaza
64.6 104
Smyrnamarker 70.8 114
New Castlemarker 75.8 119 Signed as exits 119A (south) and 119B (north) southbound
Odessamarker 84.5 136
Boyds Corner 88.2 142
Biddles Corner Biddles Corner Toll Plaza
St. Georgesmarker 92.0 148 Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Bridgemarker
Tybouts Corner 94.5 152 South end of US 13 overlap
96.9 156 , New Jerseymarker, New Yorkmarker North end of US 13 overlap; signed as exits 156A (SR 71) and 156B (US 13) southbound
Bearmarker 99.4 160 Elktonmarker, State Road
Christianamarker 100.7 162
101.9 164 South end of DE 7 overlap; signed as exits 164A (Mall Road) and 164B (DE 7) southbound
102.5 165B , Philadelphia
102.8 165A , Baltimoremarker
Churchmans Crossingmarker 103.1 166
103.1 Continuation beyond DE 58

See also


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