Work set for Railroad, Adams avenues in Lewes this fall

Monroe Avenue soon to follow
June 29, 2022

Improvements are on the way for those living on and using Monroe, Railroad, and Adams avenues in Lewes, with construction set to begin in late fall. George, Miles & Buhr presented its engineering plans and a detailed timeline for the project during a capital projects meeting June 8. GMB expects a contract to be awarded in early fall, with work beginning on Railroad and Adams avenues shortly thereafter.

Adams Avenue is scheduled to have mill and overlay work done, which is minimal compared to a complete rebuild that will begin on Railroad Avenue around the same time. Construction plans are still being developed by GMB for the rebuild, and engineer Charlie O’Donnell said there will be a public meeting in late summer when plans are closer to 70% complete. Designs will be accelerated following the completion of geotechnical surveying, which will inform contractors the best way to manage anything dug up during utility replacement. 

O’Donnell pointed out the interconnectivity between the avenues and how they transition into one another. Designs are being drawn up to ensure the relationship among the three streets continues harmoniously and a proper flow of traffic is maintained throughout the area. Residents have expressed concerns about preserving trees, and GMB’s designs protect the trees.

Construction on Monroe Avenue will take place following completion of the work on Railroad and Adams avenues.

Current estimated cost for the Monroe Avenue rebuild is $650,000. If the city chooses permeable paver parking spaces, the estimate will likely be higher.

The Adams Avenue project is estimated at $66,000, but both O’Donnell and City Manager Ann Marie Townshend acknowledged the rising costs of supplies. Estimates were made in January, and O’Donnell has increased the figure by 10% to accommodate rising costs and lingering supply chain issues.

Councilman Tim Ritzert encouraged GMB to work with the Board of Public Works and other utility companies should they encounter utility lines during the total rebuild on Monroe and Railroad, and to ground as many lines as possible. Chesapeake Utilities, for instance, serves Monroe Avenue, but not Railroad Avenue, and could expand its services during the project.

Mayor Andrew Williams wondered if it would be a good idea for the city to look into grounding utility lines as they begin working on the projects. 

O’Donnell explained there is a cost benefit to maintaining the status quo because of how expensive it is to maintain underground electric lines. Townshend also spoke with BPW General Manager Austin Calaman, who said they are not looking to ground any utilities at this time.

Ritzert said mayor and city council could develop a policy that would allow the city to finance undergrounding of  BPW’s existing aboveground utilities. Townshend said the undergrounding of utilities would be something they could discuss at mayor and city council’s next quarterly meeting with the BPW. 

Pipe upgrades will also be part of the construction work. Homeowners will not have to pay for the new system, but if contractors discover galvanized or lead pipes on an owner’s property, beyond the right of way, then a homeowner would be responsible for costs associated with upgrades. There are American Rescue Plan Act funds and grants available to enhance or replace failing water infrastructure.

Officials will notify homeowners of any work expected in front of their property, and if there are any costs associated with the project. Work on Railroad and Adams avenues is expected to be completed by spring 2023.


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