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Construction Advisory Group Meeting Minutes – April 8, 2014

Written on: May 22nd, 2014 in Route 26

Meeting was called to order at 10:05 am by Jill Frey of Century Engineering who noted that this was the first official Construction Advisory Group meeting (meetings have been called Working Group meetings up until now and were limited to select participants, whereas the meetings now are open to the general public).  The purpose of the meeting is to communicate information to the public regarding the SR 26 Mainline Project.  She encouraged all attendees to add their names to the sign in sheets, and leave an email or a mailing address so they can get timely updates on the project.  

 Next, Jill introduced the construction team consisting of Brad Saborio, Group Engineer for DelDOT; Ken Cimino, Tim Ratajack and Sam Bostick of AECOM, who represent the consultant inspection team and Chris Baker from George and Lynch.  She indicated that Ken is the lead public outreach staff person on the project. 

 Jill provided a quick review of the project details, including the purpose of adding a center turn lane and widening the two existing lanes for the remainder of SR 26 from Assawoman Canal to the church in Clarksville.  This is much like the widening project that was done in 2001 from SR 1 to the Assawoman Canal.  Jill indicated that we will conduct monthly meetings (or as needed) as the project continues.  She indicated the project was advertised in the summer of 2013 and awarded to George and Lynch in fall of 2013. 

 As for the status of work, Jill indicated that we are working to finish advance utility relocation work, sewer relocation, clearing and grubbing.  She further noted that we had our first major closure last week with the closure of Central Avenue at SR 26.  At this point in the meeting, she turned it over to Chris of George and Lynch for a comprehensive project status update.

 Chris indicated that to date they have been clearing and grubbing and working with the utility companies to have them complete their work.  He indicated that any trees that needed to be removed, have been taken down and they are in the process of removing some stumps.  They are also working at the pump station on the west end and moving material.  They also did some temporary paving at Central Avenue and SR 26 in advance of the closure so that two lanes of traffic could be maintained. 

 This spring they will be focused on two sanitary sewer force mains and will then move east. This work will be done by May 15, per the contract requirements.  They will do storm drain work, then road widening near Food Lion working their way east.  They will then work on the gravity sewer work around the Hocker’s Grocery Store area once utility work is done at that location.

 After May 15, night work will begin, as the contract states they cannot close lanes during the day, and that two lanes of traffic must be maintained at all times.  They are permitted to work at night and/or they can work off of the roadway after May 15.

 At this point Ken introduced himself and indicated that on April 1st, Central Avenue was closed between Fred Hudson/SR 26 and Cedar Drive/SR26.  We plan to have it opened in about ten days, following sewer work at that location.  Currently, DelDOT, Century Engineering, AECOM, and George & Lynch are working on an alternate design which will allow the project to progress much quicker than the originally anticipated four to six week timeframe.  Ken further noted that he has been doing an extensive amount of public outreach with businesses and residences. Ken emphasized that public feedback is very important, and he encouraged everyone to make contact with him if needed.

 That concluded the update and a question/answer period commenced.

 Q:  Woodland Avenue is a road that is being used by local traffic, and it has developed many potholes. Would it be possible to get them repaired?

A:  Ken indicated that he has been in discussions with the Town of Ocean View, and that they are working to address this issue.

 Q:  Will the sewer work in Ocean View effect those living in Bethany?

A:  No.

 Q:  In Bethany, past the Assawoman Canal, will the two lane road be increased to three lanes, and when?

A:  Yes, in the area of the Assawoman Canal, for the portion in Bethany, is scheduled to be increased from two lanes to three lanes (center turn lane) in late 2015.  While exact dates are not nailed down yet, we will be able to provide a more specific date as the work progresses.

 Q:  What is the final completion date for the project?

A:  The final completion date for the project is June 24, 2016, weather dependent.

 Comment:  Gentleman noted he was impressed with the way this project is getting done. He praised the project team and legislators for being persistent about the project. The involvement is astounding.  All have been very open and transparent.  

 Response:  Jill noted that our goal is to communicate the project to the public. We would rather hear about complaints up front so that we can address them.  Ken indicated he lives locally, so he is accessible seven days a week if needed.

 Comment:  Debbie Botchie indicated that the Town of Millville has found Ken and the contractor to be very accommodating. 

 Q:  Will the force main relocations have an impact on SR 26 traffic?

A:  Mike Delp with George and Lynch indicated that at Location 8 (along SR26 westbound shoulder in front of CSI Granite & Marble) they will be working in the shoulder of the road, and at Location 9 (entrance to CSI Granite and Marble) they are working up the driveway of the Granite Store, so there should not be any significant lane closures. There may be temporary moving of equipment, but no lane closures.

 Q:  Regarding the public safety of nearby, alternate roads, where three deaths have occurred, specifically Burbage Road, Route 17, Powell Farm Road, is there any plan to lower the speed limit or place traffic circles (as was previously proposed) on these roads?

A:  There are no plans to lower the speed limit, however, because of crash history we do have traffic studies monitoring and doing studies to determine if any changes are warranted (bigger stop signs, rumble strips, etc.).  Likewise, through construction, we will monitor these locations.   DelDOT is working with Delaware State Police for extra enforcement.  Tracy Condon of DSP indicated that based on today’s conversation they will be setting up extra patrols in these areas.    As for the traffic circle that was planned for south of Route 17, which would require a drop in speed limit, this is not moving forward.   The road is designed per DelDOT standards.

 Q:  Is this supposed to be a three year, 24/7 project?

A:  In designing the project, we didn’t make them do night work, as we have built in, lane closures in the work schedule. When they can’t work days in the summer, they will work nights.  George and Lynch makes the final decision on their work schedule, but must abide by the work hours set out in the contract. The goal is to complete the project in three years, as much as within our control (weather dependent).

 Comment:  The weekly update emails are great.

 Q:   Have any days been added to the contract for weather yet?

A:  No days have been added to the contract yet. We still anticipate to be done by June 24, 2106.

 Q:  Why are we meeting at the Bethany Beach Town Hall when there are plenty of places to meet along SR 26?

A:  The Public Relations team needed to select a location that could be available the same day/time every month, on a date that accommodated the project team’s schedule. Other locations could not accommodate that schedule, but the Bethany Beach Town Hall could, thus we went with them to ensure a consistent time and location.

 At this point Ken recognized that Rep. Gray had entered the meeting room, and asked if he wished to make any comments. Rep. Gray asked if we could get the Garfield Parkway project completed quickly, and was pleased that Mediacom was onsite.

 At this point Ken indicated that meeting minutes would be sent out which would indicate the next meeting date and time.  At this point the meeting was concluded.