One of Lewes’ busiest intersections is set to close for about a week beginning Jan. 2.
Crews from George & Lynch will work around the clock to replace key wastewater infrastructure in the ground at Savannah Road, Gills Neck Road and Front Street.
The project will restrict access to the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal drawbridge. Detours will be posted, and all traffic to and from Lewes Beach will be diverted to Freeman Highway.
The work is just one part of a two-year project to upgrade the sewer lines in downtown Lewes and to connect to Sussex County’s wastewater system on Gills Neck Road.
The intersection will be closed for nine days, until Thursday, Jan. 11, but inclement weather could affect the schedule, said Lewes Board of Public Works General Manager Darrin Gordon.
George & Lynch crews will work 24 hours a day until work is complete. The Department of Transportation requires an expedited schedule in a situation such as this, Gordon said.
DelDOT is taking advantage of the intersection shutdown to install a new arm for traffic lights, while the BPW will use the shutdown to abandon a 60-year-old water main in addition to upgrading the sewer pipes.
Once complete, crews from Teal Construction will take the baton. They will extend a new sewer line from the parking lot at 1812 Park to Market Street. The lot and Front Street will be closed in 150-foot segments as the crews work their way north.
The overall project has been underway for several months. For most of the fall, George & Lynch had been working in a 20-foot pit in the 1812 Park lot, drilling a lateral line under Savannah Road to a smaller receiving pit on the other side.
The pit was a sight to behold, Gordon said.
“I tried to take a picture of it, but you just can’t get the size of it unless you see it in person,” he said.
While digging in the colossal cavity in the parking lot at 1812 Park, crews with George & Lynch discovered several pieces of an old automobile. The parts are too rusty and eroded to identify the make, model or year of the car, but the crew clearly recognized a frame, a wheel and a car jack. Crews also found what is believed to be an old water heater.
Gordon said he suspects the corner of Savannah Road and Front Street at some point may have been a dumping ground.
While the BPW’s main objective with the large-scale project is to upgrade decades-old infrastructure, a secondary benefit is a connection to Sussex County’s wastewater system on Gills Neck Road. Last year, the BPW agreed to receive 75,000 gallons of wastewater daily, year round, from the Wolfe Pointe and Showfield communities. An additional 225,000 gallons per day would be added to the system during the winter from other Gills Neck Road communities. Gordon said the BPW’s wastewater treatment facility is more than capable of treating the additional wastewater.
Gordon said the project remains on schedule. Crews will work into the spring before halting for the summer season. They will pick back up in the fall and work through the winter again next year.