Ocean View keeps traffic lights, discusses micro-surfacing

Based on a request made by the Town of Ocean View, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) will keep in place past May 15 the two temporary traffic signals at the intersections of Windmill Avenue and Cedar Drive with Central Avenue.

Last month, the council had requested that Town Manager Dianne Vogel contact DelDOT to request that the two signals be converted to permanent traffic signals.

Vogel said at a town council meeting this week that she had received an email on May 11 from DelDOT representatives, stating the signals at Cedar Drive will remain in fulltime green/yellow/red mode for the timebeing, while they will convert the signals at Windmill Avenue to flash mode — a flashing red for the Windmill side and flashing yellow on Central.

“They’re going to continue to collect additional traffic data at both intersections during the summer to further assess whether there are more changes needed during seasonal traffic conditions,” said Vogel.

DelDOT officials did note that the signals were installed solely to accommodate the detoured state Route 26 traffic, which was well-publicized, and were intended to be temporary in nature.

That goes beyond the use period intended for the signals — the design of the signals is temporary, too, with contractors having used wooden poles. Conversion to permanent traffic signals, with steel poles at a minimum, would be of significant expense.

Vogel said that she, along with Mayor Walter Curran, Public Works Director Charles McMullen, Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader and Town Engineer Alan Kercher, had recently met with two representatives from Asphalt Paving Systems Inc. regarding the 2013 micro-surfacing project that the Town said had failed to meet any reasonable minimum performance expectations.

Due to the poor condition of the micro-surfacing, she said, Asphalt Paving will sweep the streets prior to Memorial Day and within one month after Labor Day.

Kercher Engineering Inc. will conduct an evaluation/condition survey in March 2016 to determine whether or not re-surfacing may proceed that spring.

“I’ve had at least three people come up to me and ask, ‘Why are you waiting until March 2016 to fix the problem?’” said Curran. “The answer is very simple — because we don’t want to fix it six more times.

“It is what it is. We need to clean up the loose gravel, which is the only real hazard involved... The point of it is, at the advice of Alan Kercher, who is the professional in all this, he says to wait until we get through one more winter, because he thinks probably by then it will have broken down as much as it can break down.”

If the streets are not ready, Asphalt Paving will agree to extend the existing warranty and maintenance bond for at least one year.

“This will all be done at the cost of Asphalt Paving,” said Vogel, noting that the Town had informed the company that all future paving work with them would be put on hold until the issue was resolved.

Vogel also reported that the Town had recently received a letter from DelDOT regarding Phase III of the Streetscape Improvement Program.

“Basically, we need the full support of the community and must obtain easements,” she said. “There are five people that have not signed those easements. If the property owner does not agree to donate the easement in order to construct those sidewalks, it’s not going to be condemned, and the project is not moving forward, period.”

Vogel said letters were sent to the five property owners earlier in the week; however they had yet to receive any response.

“This was a feel-good project that the State was offering to us to put sidewalks in areas that I personally think need them,” said Curran. “At this point in time, it doesn’t look like it’ll happen. It’s one of those — 10 years from now, five years or next year, when they come and say, ‘We need the sidewalk. Look at the traffic,’ I’m gonna have to say, ‘Told you so.’”

In other Town news:

• New barbecue grills, picnic tables and landscaping have been installed in John West Park. Vogel said more improvements are planned for this year.

• Vogel thanked the Public Works Department for their work preparing the park for the Town’s annual Homecoming.

“It was a good event. I hope everyone who came enjoyed it.”

• The Ocean View Police Department had submitted a grant application for $12,263.78 to the State Law Enforcement Asset Seizure Fund, to purchase a Honda Pioneer All-Terrain Vehicle.

“That will enable us to patrol some of the areas that aren’t accessible by automobiles in town,” said Chief Ken McLaughlin, noting the Bear Trap Dunes golf course and the Assawoman Canal Trail.

• The council voted 3-1 to appoint Baptist Damiano to the Planning & Zoning Commission. The council reappointed Gene Brendel to the Town’s Board of Adjustment. Damiano, Brendel and Don Walsh were all reappointed to the Town’s Board of Elections.