Work to relocate Verizon 5G poles on the dunes in Dewey Beach has begun.
A crew was on Cullen Street oceanside April 6, boring a hole and installing a new wooden pole to replace one in the dune.
Town Manager Bill Zolper said he was informed early that morning that new poles would be installed on Clayton and Cullen streets, and Rodney Avenue. New poles on Clayton and Cullen had not been installed by the Cape Gazette print deadline.
The project will be completed in three stages, he said. First, new poles and their small cell wireless equipment will be installed in locations agreed upon by Verizon and the town.
Then, Delmarva Power and Verizon will run service to the new poles, and the old poles will be decommissioned and removed. An exact timeline for the process is not yet known, Zolper said.
“Hopefully, before Memorial Day,” he said.
In September 2020, Verizon began installing 5G poles in dunes and adjacent to beach crossings on Clayton, Cullen and St. Louis streets, and Collins and Rodney avenues.
Zolper said Verizon and Delmarva Power are currently working to enhance service to the area where the new pole will be placed on Collins Avenue, and they are evaluating a location to replace the new pole on St. Louis Street.
In September 2020, town commissioners passed an ordinance to govern installation and impose design standards for small cell facilities. A new agreement with the state gave permitting authority to the town, which hired consultant CTC to assist with legal advice and review permit applications for installations.
A June 2021 lawsuit filed by Dewey residents Alex Pires, Diane Cooley and John Snow seeking to remove the poles and prevent Verizon from installing any more was settled in November 2021, when Verizon agreed to move the poles.
In September 2021, Dewey entered an agreement with the state that provides $375,000 for pole relocation. Funds must be spent within three years to reimburse Verizon’s relocation expenses, and for CTC to review Verizon’s applications for the five poles.
Zolper said Verizon will submit invoices for pole relocations to the town, which will then pay for the relocation using those state-allocated funds.
Verizon officials could not be reached by the Cape Gazette print deadline regarding a timeline for the project’s progress and completion.
The town’s communications history with Verizon, including all permits, is available at townofdeweybeach.com/WirelessFacilitiesArchive.