Written on: November 28th, 2012 in Elkton Road
The Elkton Road Project, from Gravenor Lane to Delaware Avenue in the City of Newark, is getting close to being completed. There is approximately two to three weeks more of milling remaining as well as the placement of the top surface of hot mix. After all of the hot mix is placed, the final striping will need to be installed which would take approximately one week to complete.
Hopefully, the winter weather conditions will allow us to complete all of the final hot mix placement and the final striping. Unless there is a severe winter storm we will be able to complete the hot mix. However, the final striping is more temperature sensitive, and we may have to use temporary striping in order to open all of Elkton Road into its final configuration, and wait until the weather improves enough in the Spring 2013 to allow us to place the final striping at the required air temperatures.
At the end of this week all of the landscaping plants will have been installed, and the only remaining landscaping work will involve touching up the mulch in the planting beds.
Written on: November 19th, 2012 in Route 26
On October 11, 2012, DelDOT sent 194 surveys via certified mail to the property owners within the SR26 Mainline project limits. The survey is required by law in Delaware when DelDOT is considering doing road work during night time hours. According to the law, however the majority vote determines whether or not night work will be permitted. Also according to the law, each survey that is sent that DelDOT does not receive a response for is considered a vote supporting night work.
The deadline for responding to the survey was November 15, 2012 and the results of the survey have been tallied. Of the 194 surveys sent, DelDOT received 77 responses – 68 supporting night work and 9 not supporting night work. 117 surveys were not returned.
Based on the survey results, DelDOT will incorporate night work into it’s plans for SR26. DelDOT is thankful to those who participated in the survey.
This week we finished stripping the topsoil from the Noxon Tenancy Site and started working on our features. Before archaeologists dig into a feature, it is always photographed, mapped, and drawn. So we made a careful map of the site, took the necessary pictures, and then began excavating.
Interesting things started to turn up at once: cow and pig bones, pieces of pottery, even a clay marble. One of our first features contained a large amount of daub. Daub is clay that has been cooked, but not enough to turn it into brick or pottery. On a colonial farm site like the Noxon Tenancy, daub usually comes from a wooden chimney. There is very little brick on the site, not enough to make a chimney, so we already suspected that the house had a wooden chimney. These were always lined with clay, which eventually turned to daub, so all of this daub confirmed our suspicion. As you might imagine, wooden chimneys were not very safe. No matter how carefully they were lined, the clay eventually flaked off or cracked, a spark slipped through, and the whole thing burst into flames. The people who lived at our site never got around to replacing their wooden chimney with brick or stone, which suggests that they did not live at the site for very long.
One of the artifacts that came out in the first days was a small bowl with a handle, a shape that people in the 1700s called a “porringer.” A porringer was made to be held in the hand while you were eating. They were a very old form, and they remind us that in the Middle Ages most people did not eat at a table. They ate sitting around a hearth, holding their food in their hands or on their laps. Dining at a table was reserved for the rich, or for formal occasions. Over the course of the 1600s and 1700s more and more people came to eat their meals in that formal way, lifting food to their mouths with new invention called a fork instead of with their hands or their pocket knives, not spitting or picking their teeth at the table, and so on. This artifact is a reminder of the old way of eating and living that was slowly giving way to more refined manners.
Excavation of the cellar hole at the Elkins B site by Hunter Research, Inc. continues to produce a wealth of artifacts and information as we proceed towards the floor. Items of interest thus far this week are a small lead bird shot, a host of faunal remains (including fish scales), a thimble and a half penny also known as a half pence. The image on the obverse (or front) side of the copper coin is well worn and the reverse or back side is completely worn. From what we can see, we have been able to determine the image on the front side of the coin faces right is that of King William III. The back would have depicted the seated Britania facing left. Because King William III is not accompanied by Queen Mary (who died of small pox in 1694) the coin must date to between 1695 and 1701. No halfpennies were produced in England under Queen Anne from 1701 to 1714, thus earlier coins remained in circulation longer than normal and tend to be well-worn. Given the amount of wear we estimate it was in circulation for around 30 years. The presence of coins at all dating to the late 17th and first half of the 18th centuries along the Route 301 corridor are rare as bartering for goods and services was more the norm in this rural area.
The crew from the Louis Berger Group is back in the field in Delaware, this time at the Noxon Tenant Site. The Noxon Tenancy is a small farm site dating to around 1750, in a field not far from Armstrong Corners. Since this spot was part of a huge property belonging to a wealthy speculator, the people who lived at the site must have been tenants.
We started our work on Monday. After digging a few more test units, we brought in a backhoe to remove the rest of the topsoil from the site. We were chased off the site by the Nor’easter on Wednesday afternoon and didn’t get back to work until Friday. After a day and a half, we had exposed about half the site. Removing the plowed soil exposed dozens of features on the site. These included what looks like a well, two small cellar holes, and several pits. One of the features is what archaeologists call a “sheet midden”, a wide, thin deposit of trash. These form when people just throw their trash out into a yard or down a slope, rather than burning it or burying it in pits. This one is full of pottery and animal bone, just the stuff for learning about the lives of the people who lived here 250 years ago. We’ll have the backhoe on the site again on Monday, finishing up this work and exposing more exciting things.
Well, November started out on a good note for Hunter Research, Inc. The Elkins B site survived Hurricane Sandy and with each and every shovel full of soil from our cellar hole we are finding new and interesting artifacts which help us to better understand the folks who lived on this property in the first half of the 18th century. Screening the cellar fill through 1/8 inch mesh has been difficult due to the sticky nature of the clayey silty soils which make up the majority of the fill. In an effort not crush the tiniest of artifacts lying within the soil we made sure NOT to be aggressive pushing the soil through the mesh, saving what would not go through the screens easily for soil floatation. Floatation involves the immersing of the soil samples in a large 55 gallon drum, at which point the heavy fraction (the heavier particles) sink to the bottom and are collected on window screen while the light fraction floats to the top of the water and is collected in a runoff bag. The amount of material collected was staggering, filling trays with thousands of tiny items, which the laboratory staff must now pick through on rain days. Well while waiting for the site to dry out a bit on Wednesday we had our first opportunity to process some of the float samples and pick through a small portion of the heavy fraction. To our surprise we are finding tiny seed beads made from glass and what appears to be ceramic. The sample also contained more straight pins, egg shell, fish scales, bones, bits of tin enameling, daub (burnt earth used between logs of the structure), and what appears to be burnt seeds!
Written on: November 9th, 2012 in Route 26
DelDOT, Delmarva Power, and Verizon met this past Monday to discuss the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the start date of early action utility relocations on SR 26, coordination of relocation work with other ongoing projects, inspection issues and other outstanding issues affecting the bulk of the Mainline relocations.
Written on: November 8th, 2012 in Route 26
Editor’s Note: DelDOT continues to keep the public informed about The SR 26 construction project. In this post, we share the biography of SR 26 Project Manager Tom Banez:
Tom Banez has been a resident of Dover, Delaware since 1966, and spent most of his summers in North Bethany. He graduated from Dover High School in 1981, began to work for DelDOT in 1985, and joined DelDOT’s Road Design section in 1987 as a Highway Engineering Technician. He graduated from Delaware State University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering Technology degree. As an engineer at DelDOT, he was responsible for the design of the SR404A Bypass to the north of Bridgeville, as well as the SR26 improvement project in Bethany Beach that was completed in 2001. As a project manager in Project Development South, he took on the management of the SR26 Detour Routes and SR26 Mainline projects in 2002, and has been working on these projects ever since. Additionally, he manages a squad of engineers and a consultant engineering firm (Century Engineering), who work on various other highway engineering projects throughout Kent and Sussex County in Delaware. Mr. Banez is a registered professional engineer in the state of Delaware.
Written on: November 7th, 2012 in Route 26
The following is an update (as of November 7, 2012) on the detour routes for the SR 26 construction project:
Current road closures/restrictions for the SR 26 Detour Project: Burbage Road is closed from Substation Road to Windmill Road; intermittent lane closures on Beaver Dam Road; Burbage Road is expected to open on November 9, 2012; and Windmill Road at Atlantic Avenue will close on November 12 and remain closed until January 7. Motorists should follow posted detour routes.
Current Work Schedule & Progress: This project was initially delayed due to a lack of utility coordination, and fortunately we have worked through those issues. Currently, we are constructing the drainage on other phases of the contract at the same time we are constructing the pipe crossings and road reconstruction on Burbage Road (Phase 1). We are not able to work on any phases that are within the signed detour route for Burbage Road, so it limits where we can work. While it may appear that we are not making progress on the construction of the drainage, as much of the work is underground or adjacent to the roadway, we have actually accomplished a significant amount of work in the last few months. There will be more visible progress when we begin the actual road widening work.
Tentative schedule for the project over the coming months: Presently working on Phase 1 of the contract (Burbage Road); this will be complete November 9th and we will begin Phase 2 (Windmill Road). Concurrently, we are constructing the roadside ditches and other drainage along the other phases of the contract. We are adjusting the schedule as much as we can to expedite the work, however our anticipated completion date is July 2013.
What we are doing to lessen inconvenience to residents/motorists and business impact: Where possible we are using lane closures to perform much of the work that maintains through traffic on all roads. The original plan was to close the road, but we are attempting to work under lane closures in order to lessen the impact to the general public.
Work occurring to expedite the completion of the project: We are working multiple phases concurrently and have revised the scope of work from a conventional road reconstruction to a road recycling method that is performed much faster.
Written on: November 2nd, 2012 in Route 26
DelDOT is currently determining the work hours for the SR 26 Mainline Project, and would like to incorporate night time work hours into the contract, in addition to daytime hours. In doing so, DelDOT is required to seek property owners’ input as to their desire to have the contractor work during night time hours or not. Night work surveys have been mailed to those property owners whose land abuts SR 26.
DelDOT asks that those who receive the survey in the mail respond by November 15, so that DelDOT receives a clear indication if night work is acceptable to residents and businesses that abut SR 26. Please note that if DelDOT does not receive a night work survey response by November 15, 2012 it will be taken as a YES response for night work to occur. “ The final decision to include night work or not in the SR26 Mainline Project will be based on the majority of the responses received by the Department.
Please advise those you may know who live along SR 26 that it is very important that they respond to the survey. This is a chance for their voice to be heard on this important aspect of the project.