Last year proved to be the deadliest on Maryland Route 404 since the mid-1990s and, while work crews are gearing up to improve portions of the popular beach-bound highway, that statistic serves as a chilling reminder of just how much the long-in-the-works dualization project is needed. Route 404 stretches about 25 miles from U.S. Route 50 to the Maryland/Delaware state line and is often cited by public officials and private citizens as one of the deadliest roads in the state. Portions running east of Denton have been dualized over the last decade and thanks to this year’s federal stimulus package, another mile west of Denton from just east of the Tuckahoe River to Maryland Route 480, is slated to be turned into four lanes, with construction set to start later this summer. According to records from Chesapeake Publishing Corp. and the State Highway Administration, 80 people have lost their lives in traffic accidents on Route 404 since 1980. SHA officials report that 36 of those fatalities occurred from 1995 to 2008, an average of 2.57 deaths per year during that timeframe. Last year alone, six people were killed on the highway, the most since 1995 when the same number of people died.