Lewes council, BPW discuss road repairs, current needs

Joint projects on the table, some costing millions
April 16, 2022

Road construction is set to begin at Railroad and Adams avenues this fall, kicking off a $2.34 million joint project between the City of Lewes and the Lewes Board of Public Works.

While conditions are set for the work, the same cannot be said for the second part of the project, Railroad and Monroe avenues, which is set for a different fiscal year. Officials agreed that before they could begin that design phase, they need to gather feedback about the issues currently present or those that may come to light. While repairs are planned for the road surface, the general consensus is that below-ground conditions need to be ascertained before any work begins. The city will pay for just over half of the total project cost, and the BPW will pay the remainder.

Discussions about the Railroad Avenue project took place at a joint meeting March 28. Councilman Tim Ritzert also brought up the potential need for repairs to Marina and University drives. Funds are reserved for milling and overlay work on the two roads, but none are earmarked for drainage issues. BPW General Manager Austin Calaman said the department has funds set aside each year for road improvements, but that is a general fund. BPW officials recognized the current drainage problems, but also noted both roads experience less traffic than other current and future projects. 

Ineffective drainage boxes are creating problems, and because they are located on the sidewalk, Ritzert wondered if strategic planning between the two entities could help mitigate the issues. Engineer George, Miles & Buhr did a town-wide sidewalk assessment in Lewes, and a program is being planned for bids. Lewes’ charter states property owners are responsible for sidewalk maintenance and repairs on their property.

Lewes Beach drainage issues were also discussed, with both the city and BPW willing to consider another joint venture. No cost has been projected, but there currently is no stormwater infrastructure in that area, so system installations would be required, and Lewes Beach stormwater work would likely tie into the Cedar Street project. Surface and groundwater concerns were brought up, so American Rescue Plan Act funds could possibly cover the cost of preliminary studies.

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