Route 1 rehab project means nighttime lane closures start Monday

The Department of Transportation (DelDOT) announced this week that nighttime lane closures could be expected on Route 1 from North Bethany to Fenwick Island beginning Monday, July 7, as part of a $4.4 million pavement and rehabilitation project.

American Infrastructure-Md. Inc. was awarded contract for the project, which involves replacement of crossroad pipes, milling the existing road surface, full-depth patching of existing road failures and placement of a full-width asphalt overlay. The work is expected to continue into late November.

To avoid Independence Day and summertime traffic, only nighttime lane closures will occur on Route 1 from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., Sunday evenings until Friday mornings.

“The Sunday nights, we’re going to see how that goes, traffic-wise. If it’s causing issues, we’ll probably change the contract to Monday to Thursday nights,” said DelDOT’s Wayne Massey, area supervisor for South II Construction.

The work includes construction of a right turn lane from Route 1 southbound to Fred Hudson Road; Route 1 northbound and southbound from Fenwick Island town limits to York Road/Logan Street in South Bethany; Route 1 northbound and southbound from Fifth Street in Bethany Beach to the 3R’s beach entrance in North Bethany; Pennsylvania Avenue in Bethany Beach from Route 1 to South Bethany town limits.

The project also includes replacement of crossroad pipes on Route 1 from Fenwick town limits to York Road/Logan Street in South Bethany and Route 1 from Fifth Street in Bethany Beach to the 3R’s beach entrance in North Bethany.

Even with only night work on the schedule, residents and business owners were eyeing the project with concern this week. Coastal Delaware is popular with summertime travelers, and some businesses only have those months to make a profit.

But construction had to begin early on such a long project, Massey said.

“We have some pipe replacements and pipe repairs we have to do, and if we get started afterwards, we’re probably not going to get any of the paving done this year because of the temperatures,” he explained.

“So we’re trying to do what we can during the summer months. In that area, there’s quite a bit of traffic, but not as much as other sections of the area,” Massey added.

The project will be constricted to night work only until about Sept. 8, when daily lane closures will change to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Night work traditionally costs more, as contractors need to light the work zone and keep open the hot mix plant. But, ultimately, DelDOT’s traffic and safety sections study the traffic and make recommendations to the project design team.

If the hours don’t quite work, DelDOT will revisit the schedule.

With all the publicity and public meetings surrounding the current improvement project on Route 26 (a 4-mile, multi-year project), some people wondered why DelDOT only provided the traditional 10-day notice for lane closures on a major highway.

“There’s not as much time put into designing it, because it’s kind of a rehab instead of a full-blown contract,” Massey said. “They’re usually fast-moving jobs and go through when we have the money.”

Pave-and-rehab contracts usually occur five or six times annually, with multiple locations, he said. That makes it a more typical project.

“We had actually been trying to get this started last year, but we had some issues getting everything together,” due to pipe-replacement permits, Massey said. Several pipes will be replaced, and the rest repaired.

“You can see where some of them have failures. We’ll excavate and repair joints,” he said. Currently, he added, “Some areas have round sinkholes that have been filled with cold mix.”

Route 1 is getting upgraded statewide. Details are online at Motorists are being encouraged to visit for construction updates and real-time travel information.