Alternative Mitigation of the Polk Tenant Site (7NC-F-111)Versar’s recent research into wells is telling us that they represent a very old and very conservative technology. The earliest wells that have been documented archaeologically are from Cyprus. These wells were dug about 10,000 years ago into hard, chalky sediment to reach deep, underground streams that flowed over bedrock. Early colonial period wells in parts of eastern North America such as Delaware were often shallow, tapping layers of water that were relatively close to the ground surface. Called aquifers, these layers were recharged by water directly from the contemporary ground surface and so were easily contaminated. Shallow wells with tainted water were often the source of fevers and more serious diseases. While the technology of wells is old, some aspects of their construction do not appear to have changed much. Wells in Eastern Germany dating to the Early Neolithic, about 7,500 years ago, contained some of the earliest recorded wooden architecture in the world in the form of notched and pegged wooden cribbing used to line the well shafts. Initial results of our survey of Delaware wells indicates that well shafts continued to be lined with wood—cribbing or sometimes barrels—while others used stone or brick. We are looking into patterns in the types of lining as well as geography, soil, and function.
August was a busy month for the Dovetail lab, with the Warwick collection being our top priority. The Warwick site is located at the very southern tip of the Route 301 corridor; it is actually in the State of Maryland rather than Delaware, requiring coordination with both states. The site dates from the Late Archaic through the Early Woodland Period with the assemblage being dominated by lithics, although a stray piece of bottle glass did find its way into the assemblage. All debitage was categorized by basic types (i.e., primary, secondary, tertiary) and then further classified by size, weight, material type and any additional characteristics that would add to the understanding of the lithic reduction process at the site. This categorization was completed on the materials recovered from the daily site field excavation, as well as from the flotation samples which included a moderate number of very small lithics (also known as micro debitage). Variation in the density of microdebitage largely mirrored that of larger debitage fragments, suggesting limited site maintenance and short-term occupation. Small, late-stage flakes dominated the macroscopic collection, indicating initial reduction of cobbles had occurred elsewhere in the region.
A use-wear analysis was completed by Dr. Mike Klein on all projectile points, bifaces and unifaces. Although the predominance of fractures on the upper third of many point blades implied that most of the points broke during use by Native American people, use-wear analysis identified striations consistent with use as knifes as well as projectiles. Edge damage on the stem and lowermost portion of the blades confirmed the inference that most had been hafted or attached to a spear or arrow. Rounding and polish on an extensively reworked point indicated use on silica-rich materials, like plants, while edge damage observed on a flake suggested that larger flakes had been used as cutting tools. The collection provided Dovetail, DelDOT, and both the Delaware and Maryland SHPOs with a new set of data on a notable prehistoric occupation of this region.
Here is your final update on the Route 40 Railroad Crossing Replacement Project.
Thanks to everyone for their patience during this project.
The Route 40 railroad crossing reopened as of Saturday, August 17th at approximately 8pm.
While the roadway and crossing have reopened to traffic, there will be limited lane closures in the area to complete the final paving. The lane closures will take place this week (August 19-23) from 7:30pm until 5am. Track work, drainage and sidewalks are complete. This week, during evening hours, the contractor will finish paving and grading/seeding of the medians.
DelDOT wishes to thank everyone for their patience during this project.
Norfolk Southern is finalizing the railroad grades on the Route 40 Railroad Crossing Project. Contractors are continuing paving work on the site, with paving tie-in work occurring today, tonight and through the weekend.
Overall work is progressing very well.
On Wednesday, August 14, 2013 during the day, the contractor completed the final drainage pipe run under the railroad tracks. All drainage across Route 40 is now fully operational. To complete the work they utilized two superintendents, two operators, two skilled laborers, and three unskilled laborers along with excavators, a backhoe, a frontend loader, and a trench compactor.
Also on Wednesday, August 14, the remaining concrete sidewalk was installed, as well as the curb opening on the westbound lanes on each side of the track. Hotmix asphalt patching was placed between the existing roadway and newly installed curb. Work remaining consists of placing the ADA compliant rail crossing section and the island on eastbound lane east side (this was removed to facilitate U-turns for the travelling public).
Last night (Wednesday, August 14), the contractor graded the roadway adjacent to the tracks and placed asphalt on the eastbound and westbound lanes west of the tracks.
Today, Thursday, August 15, Norfolk Southern will set grades on the rail replacement and compact under tracks. The contractor will install the pipe extension at the drainage outlet and will grade and place hotmix on the east and west bound lanes east of the track.
Construction is progressing very well.
On August 13, 2013, New Castle County received a heavy storm which flooded the Route 40 area. The tracks were completely flooded across the entire roadway. However, the newly installed drainage system worked very well, which allowed the contractor to get the water level down considerably. They diverted it through the new system.
A concerted effort was made by all, and because of this the railroad itself was prepared for the day’s work. The railroad company removed all the tracks across Route 40, excavated all the saturated material, placed stone, compacted and then paved under the tracks. Next, they placed and rolled ballast stone and started to set track panels all by 5pm on Tuesday, August 13.
Due to the storm, the tracks on the Shellpot Line were washed out in one area. Therefore, railroad traffic in Delaware was shut down most of the day on Tuesday, August 13. The railroad company was definitely under pressure to get this track open. Trains (including ones using the Route 40 tracks) resumed operation in the evening hours of August 13.
As for site conditions, material that had been placed in the road box in the railroad’s right-of-way will need to dry out, but that should not delay any major work activities.
After the storm passed, it was beautiful day, which gave the contractor the opportunity to move forward with the following work:
The rain did put the contractor slightly behind schedule, but the railroad company has been outstanding and their work has saved time in the overall contract. If work progresses well today (August 14), the contractor should be back on schedule by the end of the day. Work today, August 14, includes setting the casing pipe under the rail and completely tying in the new drainage system.
On August 12, Mumford & Miller continued working between train traffic to:
Completely excavate the roadway box on both east and west sides of US40
Other work included: continuing prep work for curb, gutter and sidewalk installation on the westbound lanes, west of the tracks, and placing base asphalt patching between the newly installed curb line and the roadway on the east side of the tracks.
Norfolk Southern has begun rail replacement work. Work is progressing well.
On Saturday (night), August 10, 2013, Mumford & Miller continued working, between train traffic, to complete the following:
-Almost all pipe and drainage inlets have been installed
-Completed 159 feet of piping
-Excavation of roadway box on east side of US 40.
-Utilized two excavators, backhoe, dozer, frontend loader, two dump trucks and a trench compactor to complete the work
On Sunday (day), August 11, 2013, Mumford and Miller continued to excavate the roadway box, placing material in the roadway box, and did some overall site cleanup.
Work is progressing on schedule.
Despite the somewhat rainy weather this week (August 5-9, 2013), work on the Route 40 Railroad Crossing Replacement Project did begin. The contractor, Mumford and Miller, who will be doing the drainage and paving work, began testing/locating of utilities, clearing the area, placing riprap at drainage outlets and were able to complete the first 16 feet of drainage pipe on August 5 and 6.
On August 7, contractor installed 172 feet of 24” concrete drainage pipe, and the first of eight drainage inlets.
All this week’s work is being done off of the roadway during nighttime hours, and therefore traffic on Route 40 is not impacted this week. Additional detour signs were also posted this week.
Beginning Friday, August 9 at 7:30 p.m., the full closure of the Route 40 railroad crossing will go into effect. It will remain closed around the clock for two weeks, unless work is completed sooner. It is scheduled to reopen August 26 at 5 a.m. This will allow the contractor and Norfolk Southern to work to replace the tracks and continue drainage and paving work.
Look for daily updates on this closure beginning Monday, August 12, 2013.