Road crews were recently surprised to find underground pipes in a different place than expected — and that’s a good thing when it came to one area of Route 26.
The State Route 26 Mainline Improvement Project was supposed to close Central Avenue at the Route 26 intersection for four to six weeks to relocate sewer pipes in preparation for stormwater management improvements.
“We’re relocating the existing sewer force main pipes downward, so we can install the stormwater drainage pipes above,” said Ken Cimino, AECOM on-site public outreach coordinator, of the original plan.
However, he said, “It worked out that there were two pipes that needed to be relocated downward, and they were both sufficiently deep in the ground … that we could bypass them.”
Designers created an alternative plan that required only a few additional pipes to scoot around the incoming stormwater pipes.
Cimino originally estimated that nearly $100,000 could be saved by the change, besides finishing work in only 3.5 weeks, on April 23.
Originally beginning March 31, crews aimed to finish by April 28 at the earliest, and no later than May 14.
Utility relocations are the main goal now, so that, later, all county sewer work can be done at once.
That means, for now, only some new sewer piping was installed, no storm drains and no major road construction yet. Roads leading to the intersection will be realigned in a future construction phase. But Central Avenue shouldn’t have to close again.
“It’s just like working in a closet,” said Sam Bostik, resident engineer for AECOM. “You’ve got too much to do at one time. You have 15 people at one time.”
A similar project just began to adjust sewer pipes west of the Assawoman Canal.
The Route 26 project is “more than just stripping some topsoil … We have a lot of utilities that have to be moved out of the way,” Cimino emphasized.
That includes Verizon, Mediacom, Tidewater Utilities and Delmarva Power, as well as the sewer system.
DelDOT announces Route 26 work for May 5 to 9
Flaggers will direct traffic around lane closures from May 5 to 9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in several areas:
• between Powell Farm Road and Route 17, to relocate underground and overhead utilities.
• between Route 17 and Whites Neck Road, to begin sanitary sewer installation.
• between Old Mill Road and Grants Avenue, to install a storm drain system.
Detours are not required for this work. Traffic will alternate, as directed by flaggers. Motorists should drive with caution, slow down in work zones, and never enter a roadway that has been blocked with barriers or cones, officials advised.
Meanwhile, there will be no lane closures for other utility relocation work and construction.
Daytime lane closures are permitted until May 15.
“Our schedule will change to more of a night-work schedule, probably Monday, May 19,” Cimino said. “During the day, there will still be construction activities,” although it cannot block traffic in any way during summer season, he emphasized.
Residents and businesses can contact Cimino with questions or concerns at any time, at (302) 616-2621, or Kenneth.firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 17 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 2, in Ocean View.