Chadds Ford OKs loop road

The Hillman Drive extension will complete the loop road system around the intersection of Routes 1 and 202. Chadds Ford Township supervisors approved the project Dec. 6, 27 months after the plan was proposed.

After 27 months of bureaucratic back and forth, Chadds Ford Township supervisors finally gave final approval for the Hillman Drive extension on Dec. 6. Once built, the full loop road around the intersection of Routes 1 and 202 will be complete.

The build would take up to nine months once started, according to Chuck Olivo, the engineer who developed the plans for The Henderson Group, owner of the Chadds Ford Business Campus through which Hillman Drive runs. Henderson is paying for the project, so no tax money is involved.

Henderson first presented the plans on Sept. 18, 2015, and there was pushback from the start. The most vocal opposition came from residents of The Estates At Chadds Ford. Their lone access point is Evergreen Place, which intersections with Hillman Drive. There was also opposition from some residents of Painters Crossing Condominium. Even one of the supervisors admitted he was opposed to the project.

Board Chairman Frank Murphy commented before Wednesday night's vote: "I didn't like this project from the start. I don't think we need it…but I'll vote for it." He went on to apologize to the applicant for the process taking so long and for the increased cost involved.

There are still some details to be worked out, but the project can now move forward with the work done in phases. According to Olivo, the first thing to be done is to provide a high friction surface along Evergreen Place.

One of the reasons Estates residents balked at the project was that Evergreen is a steep hill and cars lose traction when there's ice or snow on the road. Resurfacing Evergreen is one of the conditions of approval.

Once that's done, Henderson will build an access driveway from the condominiums so those residents can access Hillman from Evergreen.

After that, construction will begin on the extension of Hillman from where it now stops near Evergreen toward Route 1. Next comes re-doing the intersection of Hillman at Route 202, closing the left turn from Dickinson onto Route 1 and the final phase would be to construct the intersection at Route 1.

The two intersections — one at Route 1 and the other at 202 — will both consist of three lanes outbound and one lane inbound. The three outbound lanes would be for dedicated left and right turns and for straight through traffic.

Those intersections would line up across from already existing loop road segments, Applied Bank Boulevard on Route 202 and Brandywine Drive on Route 1. Traffic signals control both intersections.

In addition to the high friction surface on Evergreen Place, conditions of approval require Henderson to build a sound attenuating and light blocking fence along Hillman Drive for the benefit of condominium residents, limit the speed on Hillman to 25 mph and restrict truck traffic to accessing Hillman only from Route 1.

Henderson is also to offer the road to the township for dedication, but Murphy said the township would not be obligated to accept dedication.

Other business

Supervisors voted to opt out of allowing mini casinos in Chadds Ford. Pennsbury, Birmingham and Concord had already done the same. State law allows for the larger casinos to set up smaller, satellite type casinos, but municipalities have the option of prohibiting them through a resolution.

 

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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