Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Abandoned Roads in NCC: Gender Road

The first in a series about abandoned roads in New Castle County. Like abandoned railroads, "old roads" sometimes make valuable connectors (or a trip back in time).

Gender Road was at one time planned as an exchange on I-95. The idea was abandoned due to inland wetlands, a high water table, and severe flooding, hence the lack of an Exit 2 in Delaware. This film was taken on a bicycle, heading westbound on Gender from Salem Church Road. Several features of the old road can still be seen, including broken street lights, phone poles, and the double yellow line from time to time.

The area is heavily saturated and nearby homes routinely experience erosion and flooding issues. The New Castle County Dept of Land Use (NCC DLU), however, went ahead and authorized a 260 unit, high density development on the former Orphanage Property (marked below with green stop sign below) just north of Breezewood in Ogletown. An effort by the organization Save The Orphanage Property (STOP, on facebook) is underway to halt it in favor of a regional park. If the development does go forward, it will pave over nearly all of the open fields and a significant portion of the forest and wetlands abutting Todd Estates 2 and Breezewood. But according to the DLU Flood Plane Administrator for the project:

"... the design will reduce surface water runoff at each of the discharge locations and much of the runoff generated by the site design will be infiltrated into the soils. In addition, a significant portion of storm water from the site will be piped to an existing DelDOT system in Gender Road, rather than impacting homes in Breezewood. 

Gender Road, abandoned due to flooding, is marked with the green dotted line. STOP is just to the north.

Originally, this wasn't the case. At a meeting with the NCC DLU in February, advocates learned that the storm water would be channeled to the Christina River, under I95 via Leatherman's Run. With this latest revelation, will it now impact residents of Breezewood 2 near the abandoned Gender Road?

The double yellow line remains just barely visible.
Abandoned poles and lighting fixtures are readily visible looking up.
Wetlands and vernal pools are visible from both sides of the road.
Adjacent homes face standing water after a recent rainfall.

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