Delaware Route 72
|Maintained by DelDOT|
|Length:||17.35 mi (27.92 km)|
|South end:||DE 9 near Delaware City|
| US 13 / DE 7 near Delaware City
DE 1 near Delaware City
DE 71 near Kirkwood
US 40 east of Glasgow
DE 4 in Newark
DE 2 / DE 273 in Newark
DE 2 near Newark
|North end:||DE 7 in Pike Creek|
Delaware Route 72 (DE 72) is a state highway located in New Castle County, Delaware. The route runs from DE 9 near Delaware City north to DE 7 in Pike Creek. The route runs through suburban areas of northern New Castle County, passing through the eastern part of Newark. DE 72 intersects U.S. Route 13 (US 13), DE 1, and DE 7 near Delaware City, DE 71 near Kirkwood, US 40 east of Glasgow, and DE 2, DE 4, and DE 273 in Newark. Parts of DE 72 were built as a state highway during the 1930s. By the 1940s, the route was designated between DE 2 in Newark and DE 7 in Pike Creek along Paper Mill Road. The route was extended south to DE 9 in the 1960s. In 1980, the alignment was shifted to the east through Newark to bypass a railroad crossing on Chapel Street.
DE 72 begins at an intersection with DE 9 adjacent to the Delaware City Refinery near Delaware City, heading west on two-lane undivided Wrangle Hill Road. The road continues between the oil refinery to the north and farmland to the south, continuing through more rural areas before coming to an intersection with US 13 and the southern terminus of DE 7, where it widens into a four-lane divided highway. At this point, US 13 heads west for a short concurrency with DE 72 to a diamond interchange with the DE 1 freeway, where US 13 heads north on DE 1. Past this interchange, DE 72 narrows back into a two-lane undivided road and passes through a mix of farmland and residences, coming to an intersection with DE 71. Following this, the road curves to the northwest through a mix of homes and commercial establishments, crossing Norfolk Southern's Delmarva Secondary railroad line. The route continues through more areas of suburban residential development and curves to the north, coming to an intersection with US 40 in a commercial area to the east of Glasgow.
Past the US 40 intersection, DE 72 continues to the north on Sunset Lake Road, heading into wooded areas and closely running to the west of a Norfolk Southern line. The road continues north-northwest through woodland with some fields and residential development. The route crosses to the east side of the railroad tracks and widens into a five-lane road with a center left-turn lane as it comes to an intersection with Old Baltimore Pike. At this intersection, the route name changes to South Chapel Street and it passes through fields and development, crossing under Interstate 95 (I-95, Delaware Turnpike) without an interchange. DE 72 heads into the eastern part of Newark and passes industrial parks before heading between commercial development to the west and residential neighborhoods to the east as it comes to an intersection with DE 4.
Following this intersection, the road narrows to two lanes as it heads through agricultural areas to the east of the University of Delaware campus. The two routes continue northeast onto Library Avenue and heads through woods as it comes to a bridge over Amtrak's Northeast Corridor railroad line. The road heads north into commercial areas and widens into a four-lane divided highway as it comes to an intersection with Delaware Avenue, which carries the eastbound direction of DE 273. Here, eastbound DE 273 turns north to join DE 72 and the road reaches an intersection where westbound DE 273 head west on Main Street and DE 273 continues east as Ogletown Road. Past this intersection, DE 72 becomes concurrent with DE 2 and the name changes to Capitol Trail as it turns northeast and passes under CSX's Philadelphia Subdivision railroad line. The road leaves Newark and continues northeast through wooded residential areas, briefly becoming undivided as it crosses White Clay Creek.
DE 72 splits from DE 2 by heading northwest on two-lane undivided Possum Park Road, heading through wooded areas with some fields and neighborhoods. In Milford Crossroads, the route turns northeast onto Paper Mill Road and continues through fields and woods, curving north and passing between White Clay Creek State Park to the west and the Middle Run Valley Natural Area to the east. The road heads northeast into suburban neighborhoods of the Pike Creek area. DE 72 turns east and reaches its northern terminus at another intersection with DE 7.
DE 72 has an annual average daily traffic count ranging from a high of 34,091 vehicles at the north end of Newark to a low of 3,489 vehicles at the US 13 intersection. The portions of DE 72 concurrent with US 13 and DE 2 are part of the National Highway System.
What is now DE 72 originally existed as a county road by 1920. By 1931, the road was proposed as a state highway between present-day DE 9 and US 13 while what would become DE 72 north of Milford Crossroads was completed as a state highway. The road from present-day DE 9 to US 13 became a state highway by 1932. On July 1, 1935, the remaining sections of the present-day route were transferred from the county to the state. The portion of the road between US 13 and US 40 was improved by the state in 1937, providing a better route to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. for residents in the Delaware City, Port Penn, and Odessa areas. DE 72 was designated by 1942 to run from DE 2 in Newark north to DE 7, following Chapel Street and Paper Mill Road. In 1939, suggestions were made to replace the bridge over the White Clay Creek along Paper Mill Road in Newark. Plans were completed for this bridge by 1942 but construction was postponed due to World War II. The concrete bridge carrying Paper Mill Road over the White Clay Creek was completed in 1947, with final work on the project finished in August 1949. By 1954, Sunset Lake Road was improved from a dirt road to a low-type bituminous road. The roadway between US 40 and Newark was paved by 1966.
DE 72 was extended to its present southern terminus at DE 9 by 1967, following Chapel Street, Sunset Lake Road, and Wrangle Hill Road. In 1980, the Chapel Street crossing of the Northeast Corridor rail line in Newark was permanently blocked, and DE 72 was realigned farther to the east to follow Library Avenue across the railroad tracks before continuing north on DE 2 and Possum Park Road to Paper Mill Road in Milford Crossroads. DE 2 was realigned to follow DE 72 around the eastern part of Newark on Library Avenue by 1990. In 2013, the DE 2 concurrency between DE 4 and DE 273 was removed due to the truncation of DE 2 to the DE 273 intersection.
The entire route is in New Castle County.
|Delaware City||0.00||0.00||DE 9 (5th Street/River Road) – Delaware City, New Castle||Southern terminus|
|Wrangle Hill||1.50||2.41||US 13 south / DE 7 north (Dupont Highway) – St. Georges||South end of US 13 overlap|
|US 13 north / DE 1 – Dover, Beaches, Wilmington||Interchange, north end of US 13 overlap|
|Williamsburg||2.98||4.80||DE 71 (Red Lion Road)|
|Glasgow||5.35||8.61||US 40 (Pulaski Highway) – Wilmington, Glasgow|
|Newark||9.22||14.84||DE 4 to I‑95 (Chestnut Hill Road) – Stanton|
|10.65||17.14||DE 273 (Delaware Avenue)||South end of DE 273 eastbound overlap|
|10.85||17.46||DE 273 (Main Street/Ogletown Road) / DE 2 begins – Ogletown||North end of DE 273 eastbound overlap, south end of DE 2 overlap|
|12.06||19.41||DE 2 east (Capitol Trail) – Wilmington||North end of DE 2 overlap|
|Pike Creek||17.35||27.92||DE 7 (Limestone Road) – Avondale, Stanton||Northern terminus|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
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- Media related to Delaware Route 72 at Wikimedia Commons