Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) will add 11.5 miles of cable barriers in the median on Route 1, between Odessa and Smyrna in the near future, according to DelDOT Director of Community Relations, Charles “C.R.” McLeod. This is the same area where five members of a New Jersey family were killed on Friday.
McLeod, who indicated that the project was planned prior to Friday’s accident, said that DelDOT has already installed median barrier in several locations along Deleware roadways in recent years.
SR 1 – 4.2 miles of High-Tension Cable Barrier (HTCB) from SR 299 to SR 896 – constructed in 2009
I-495 – 0.85 miles of HTCB from I-95 to US 13 – constructed in 2013
SR 1 – 2.3 miles of HTCB from Roth Bridge to US 13 – constructed in 2014
I-95 – 1.2 miles of steel guardrail from north of the Rest Area to north of SR 273 – constructed in summer 2017
SR 273 – 1.3 miles of steel guardrail in the vicinity of Stafford Way/White Clay Center Drive – constructed in summer 2017
The 11.5-mile section of cable barriers, along Route 1 between Odessa and Smyrna, the area where a truck crossed the median, is in design and scheduled to go into construction by the end of 2018, according to McLeod.
Once that section is completed, the next phase will add another 12 miles of barrier along SR 1 south of Smyrna, added McLeod.
“Roadway departure crashes are one of DelDOT’s strategic safety emphasis areas, and over the past several years, DelDOT has been installing a high-tension cable barrier system along SR 1 in all identified high-risk areas (around curves, smaller width medians, high traffic volumes, and high crash areas).”
McLeod said beyond installing an additional median barrier along our freeways, other programs being implemented related to roadway departure crashes include high friction surface treatments, rumble strips, safety edge, and updated horizontal curve warning signs.
DelDOT is also planning to place a median barrier on I-95 at the Delaware/Pennsylvania state line to about half a mile south of Harvey Road. This would include about 2.5 miles of the currently unprotected median.
On Friday, July 6, 2018, at approximately 3:47 p.m., a 2007 Ford F-350 was traveling southbound, in the left lane on State Route 1 Highway (Rt. 1) in the vicinity of Noxontown Road. A 2002 Mercury Sable was traveling northbound on Rt. 1 just north of Pine Tree Road, and a 1998 Toyota Sienna was traveling a short distance behind the Sable.
Officials said for unknown reasons, the F-350 failed to remain in the southbound lanes of travel and exited the roadway, crossing over the grassy median and into the northbound lanes of travel on Route 1, according to police. The front driver’s side of the F-350 struck the left rear side of the Sable, causing the Sable to spin out of control and come to a rest in an embankment. The F-350 continued out of control southbound in the northbound lanes, when the front of the Sienna struck the passengers side of the F-350. The impact caused both vehicles to be displaced off the edge of the roadway and into a ditch.
The operator of the F-350, a 44-year-old male from East New Market, MD, was transported to a local area hospital where he was treated and released with non-life threatening injuries. He was properly restrained and it is unknown if impairment is a factor on his behalf, said Jaffe. His passenger, a 30-year-old male from Hurlock, MD, was properly restrained and was also transported to a local area hospital where he was treated and released with non-life threatening injuries.
The operator of the Sable, a 24-year-old male from Bethlehem PA, was transported to a local area hospital where he was treated and released with non-life threatening injuries. He was properly restrained and impairment does not appear to be a factor on his behalf.
The operator of the Sienna, a 61-year-old male from Teaneck, NJ, was properly restrained and pronounced deceased at the scene. Also in the vehicle were his four daughters, ages 20, 17, and two 13-year-olds, who were not properly restrained, were pronounced deceased at the scene. His 53-year-old wife was properly restrained in the front passenger seat and was transported to a local area hospital where she was admitted with serious injuries.
Southbound State Route 1 Highway in the area of Pine Tree Road was closed for approximately 90 minutes and the northbound lanes were closed for approximately 5 hours while the crash was investigated and cleared.
The crash continues to remain under investigation by the Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit. All names are being withheld at this time pending notification of next of kin and family members.
The Delaware State Police have later released the name of the father and his adult daughter from Teaneck, NJ who were killed as 61-year-old Audie Trinidad, and 20-year-old Kaitlyn N. Trinidad. Also killed in the crash was his 17-year-old daughter and 13-year-old twins, according to Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Melissa Jaffe.
The crash continues to remain under investigation by the Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit. No charges have been filed at this time.