Carter van Dyke Associates, with Taylor Wiseman & Taylor Engineers and Campbell Thomas & Co., developed the feasibility study for the ultimate design and location of a trail between the resort communities of Rehoboth and Lewes, Delaware. Two alternative alignments were evaluated, an existing rail alignment and on through Henlopen State Park north of Rehoboth Beach. The route through the State Park was deemed not feasible for environmental reasons, including the fact that it would have to traverse through a globally-significant migratory nesting site. The existing rail alignment was ideally suited, with existing bridges that had been over-designed to support heavy ordinances during the Second World War. The rail alignment traverses some beautiful open space with wetland courses and open farmlands, and includes an 80-foot long railroad bridge originally built in 1913 that provides views of coastal wetlands and of a World War II observation tower located on the coast.
The original trail was 3.6-miles; in 2007, an additional 2.4-mile corridor officially opened extending the existing Junction & Breakwater Trail to a total of 6 miles— Delaware’s longest rail-trail. While initially the public participation process revealed some fears, since the trail opened in 2003 it has become the most popular in the state, while providing a safe recreational route between the two communities.