1954 Topo showing the split of SR 71 and 896 from the old Summit Bridge.
U.S. 301 replaced Maryland 71 by 1960 throughout the Eastern Shore. Within Delaware, U.S. 301 overlaid SR 71 northeast to Main Street and Peterson Road west of Downtown Middletown, where it partitioned into a North and South branch. U.S. 301 South and SR 71 overlapped north from Broad Street to Summit Bridge and Red Lion while U.S. 301 North ran east to Odessa and north along side U.S. 301. The continuous steel thru truss bridge across the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal opened to traffic on January 9, 1960.1
U.S. 301 consolidated onto a single alignment along side SR 71 and 896 (Broad Street) from Middletown to the north end of the Summit Bridge in 1971. The branch split remained northward from there, with U.S. 301 South following SR 71 on Red Lion Road and U.S. 301 North overlapping with SR 896 to Glasgow and U.S. 40 east to State Road.
The next change occurred by 1984 with the elimination of the U.S. 301 branch split and the realignment of SR 896 east along side U.S. 301 from Mount Pleasant to Boyds Corner. A subsequent truncation north to the Summit Bridge removed the long standing overlap of SR 71 with U.S. 301 south to the state line. By 1990, SR 71 was extended southward again, returning to its historical route along Summit Bridge Road south to H & H Corner.