Drivers returning to Route 26 will see the construction zones, stacked pipes, bare patches of earth and a lot of traffic cones; this is the groundwork for the State Route 26 Mainline Improvement Project.
The expansion of Route 26 along the corridor from Clarksville to Ocean View will include more than 4 miles of continuous shared turn lane to help prevent traffic backups, sidewalks from Ocean View to Millville, and bike lanes and sewer installation.
The 901-day project had received a Jan. 6 notice to begin, although a frigid, snowy winter has delayed things. The end date is currently set for June of 2016.
Local residents, businesses and vacationers are “at ground zero,” Gov. Jack Markell recently said. “Thanks for the patience you’ve shown and you’ll have to show over the next few years.”
Right now, lane closures are permitted at any time during the construction, except during the morning commute, and any closures must be at least a mile apart. Flaggers will direct traffic around the construction zones. Construction is set to occur Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A detour — expected to be a rarity in the project — is currently in place for several more weeks in Ocean View.
Due to relocation of the sewer force main there, Central Avenue is be closed to through traffic on both sides of Route 26. Vehicles cannot turn from Central Avenue onto Route 26 and vice versa, but both roads are otherwise passable. Motorists should follow the posted detour.
Look for flaggers on Route 26 from Monday to Friday. Motorists may see lane closures in several areas in the coming days:
• Between Route 17 and Powell Farm Road for underground utility relocation.
• Between Old Mill Road and Grants Avenue, for installation of a storm drain system.
Detours are not required for those construction zones. 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.
Meanwhile, there will be no lane closures for overhead utility relocation work and other sewer installation and relocation.
However, after May 15, summertime lane closures will only be permitted from 7 p.m. Mondays to 5 a.m. Fridays. Even lane shifts will only be allowed during limited hours, so workers will do very particular side-of-road work during busy summer hours. They’ll also likely be doing night work.
Alternate routes will be posted for drivers aiming to avoid impacted sections of Route 26 entirely.
An AECOM inspection team was hired to oversee the project for DelDOT. Anyone with questions, comments or complaints is being encouraged to call Ken Cimino, who was brought in specifically for that purpose. He has received some praise for quick responses to messages left at (302) 616-2621, or Kenneth.firstname.lastname@example.org, or 17 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 2 in Ocean View.
Public meetings of the Construction Advisory Group (CAG) will be held the second Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m., continuing May 13, at Bethany Beach Town Hall.
More information is available on the DelDOT Route 26 Project website, at www.sr26.deldot.gov. People can register there for email updates.
Coastal Point posts weekly construction updates, including lane closure information, every Friday on our website at www.coastalpoint.com and on the Coastal Point Facebook page.