The Newark beltway consisted of a proposed network of roads encircling the city from the west, south, and east between the Maryland state line and SR 7 (Limestone Road). Around 1970 a study was undertaken by the state of Delaware to construct a multi lane highway around the growing city of Newark. The intention of this highway was to provide adequate transportation infrastructure for the expanding city. As envisioned, the beltway would have followed existing SR 4, a new alignment along the state line (roughly parallel to Casho Mill Road), a new alignment through what is now White Clay Creek State Park, portions of current Linden Hill Road and SR 72 (Possum Park Road), and a portion along the defunct Pike Creek Freeway.
Newark Beltway: South
The aforementioned SR 4 (Christina Parkway and Chestnut Hill Road) encompasses the southern segment of the beltway. East from Elkton Road (SR 279) to SR 72 (S Chapel Street), SR 4 exists almost entirely as a four lane divided facility with at-grade intersections. This was not the original plan as interchanges were slated for SR 4 at key intersections. Of the interchanges planned, a standard diamond was considered at Robscott Manor (Argyle Road) and the adjacent University of Delaware athletic facilities. Unfortunately for planners the interchange drew heavy criticism that ultimately led to its cancellation and subsequent downgrading of SR 4 from controlled access standards to an at-grade facility.
The beltway section from old Chestnut Hill Road to Elkton Road was constructed as Christiana Parkway. Built in 1985, the parkway carries four lanes overall with the exception of a two-lane bridge across the AMTRAK Northeast Corridor. Two signalized intersections, the one east of AMTRAK added in 1998, served Chrysler’ Newark Assembly Plant. The automobile factory closed down in 2009, with redevelopment of the site undertaken by University of Delaware.
Newark Beltway: West
A late 1990s proposal arose to extend Christina Parkway northward from Elkton Road (SR 279) to Barksdale Road. The extension was intended to open inaccessible land for development while providing a through route for Cecil County traffic traveling through Newark. The original beltway alignment generally followed the arc of Christina Parkway northward along the state line to SR 273 (Nottingham Road). The extension was never constructed, though a small portion of Suburban Drive added follows the intended path to big box retail added at Suburban Plaza Shopping Center.
Other proposals on how to address Cecil County traffic through Newark led to a debate between city and county officials from both areas. Newark political leaders advocated a new roadway on the Cecil County side of the state line, running north from Elkton Road to Maryland 273 (Nottingham Road). Cecil County leaders contended that a new road through the primarily rural stretch would be overrun with development, bringing unwelcome sprawl and congestion to the area. Newark officials countered that the roadway was essential for Maryland-based traffic that uses SR 273 through the city and that Maryland should accept more of the responsibility in solving the transportation problem.
Newark Beltway: North
The northern part of the beltway exists only on paper. The proposed route followed a path near Wedgewood, Pleasant Hill, and Hopkins Roads, mostly through what is now White Clay Creek State Park. A path between Hopkins Road to New Linden Hill Road, possibly by way of SR 72 (Possum Park Road), would turn traffic southeast into the Pike Creek Valley. South from there, the beltway alignment was very uncertain as preliminary discussion halted before alternatives were drawn.
Newark Beltway: East
The final element of the beltway plan utilized a portion of the proposed Pike Creek Freeway. The limited access highway appeared on maps running south from SR 7 (Limestone Road), by way of Linden Hill Road, to Interstate 95 near the Delaware Turnpike Service Area. The nonexistent Exit 2 on the Delaware Turnpike was reserved for the Pike Creek Freeway.
The Pike Creek Freeway was envisioned as an extension of the planned U.S. 301 freeway running south from the Delaware Turnpike to Middletown. The alignment stemmed northeastward from Interstate 95 across SR 4 and SR 273 to the intersection of SR 2 (Capitol Trail) with Harmony Road. There an interchange would facilitate movements between the freeway and Capitol Trail. A multi lane at-grade highway would continue northward along the path of Upper Pike Creek Road to Linden Hill Road, tieing into the northern segment of the beltway.