Construction continued this week in Ocean View as the town moved closer to getting a central water system. With crews rounding up construction in Country Estates and Country Village, sights are set on Route 26 — though the primary concern inhibiting construction along the major roadway is the same one that prevented the project from getting started in the past: easements.
Those involved in the public water system project met Thursday, March 1, to discuss current improvements. “Normally, a project this size will have 20 to 30 easements,” said town engineer Chuck Hauser. “In our case, we found roughly 120.” The town was still awaiting roughly 20 easements to be granted by property owners, several of whom are known to be deceased.
“We’re trying to get these easements addressed,” said Chris Beckman, a member of the project committee. “As soon as we do, we can get started with work on [Route] 26.” Those working on the project are adamant to pursue construction on the area’s major road before summer traffic starts rolling in. The ultimate completion of the project is set for mid-January 2008, from which citizens of the town have a year to hook up their properties’ water to the town’s system.
Other than hindered construction on Route 26, though, the project is right on track, with six crews working at all times, said committee member and project manager Billy Scott. “Everything’s going according to plan, time-wise,” he added. “We’re running as many crews as we can.”
One of the questions that Beckman said he’s heard the most about the project is whether or not Ocean View citizens can hook up to the new system as soon as construction goes through. “Right now,” said Hauser, “it’s strongly discouraged. It’s going to be at least a few more months before people can start hooking up.” Rather, the project is planned to have all connections come on as one system.
Hauser discussed the matter again at a town council meeting on Tuesday, March 6. “We don’t have all the agreements or components in line,” he said. “There are still things that need to be discussed.” In addition, proper service steps need to take place, including bacteria tests and pressure tests for the pipes. “Hook-ups are still a couple months away,” he added, “but we’re doing everything we can.”
Residents of the town will then be required to hire a plumber certified to work in the state of Delaware for proper connection. Town solicitor Dennis Schrader said, too, that he would be looking into hiring an appraiser as an expert witness while construction continues.
Construction should wrap up in the coming week in Country Estates and Country Village, with progress moving toward Woodland Park and West Avenue. The project will start up Central Avenue, from Woodland, in the week of March 12, or possibly even sooner.
The next public water system project meeting will be held on Thursday, April 5, at 10 a.m. at Town Hall. If anyone has questions or concerns regarding easements or the public water system project, they should contact Town Manager Conway Gregory at (302) 539-9797.