City: Water main repair project progressing

 

Work crews continue work on Bradford Street, north of Loockerman Street, to replace water main lines. (Special to Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — It might be confusing at times with disappearing traffic cones and signs.

However, Dover City Manager Donna Mitchell said there is a method to the madness taking place on South Bradford Street.

It’s simply that the city is trying to take care of two problems at once.

“It’s a streetscape and a water main project that is taking place at the same time,” Mrs. Mitchell said. “Some of the pipes in that area are some of the oldest in the city.

“We’re trying to get all of that replaced and there’s really no sense in repaving the street and then having to tear it up for the water main project, so we’re doing the projects at the same time.

“We kind of put a delay on the repaving project (until the water main work is completed) and DelDOT has been very patient with us.”

Teal Construction began work on the water main replacement the week of Jan. 8, one week behind schedule due to frigid weather conditions.

It anticipates the work on South Bradford Street will continue until the end of April, pending weather.

Some business owners have voiced their frustration with some confusing parking situations in the area during the project. But Tina Bradbury, operations manager for the Downtown Dover Partnership, said those are being addressed.

“I’ve been working with Teal and we’ve been making strides to make (solutions) happen,” Ms. Bradbury said. “When they are working a certain area they move cones (around to free up space), so they’ve been very accommodating to us.”

Brandon Pelton, owner of 33 West Ale House and Grill on Loockerman Street, said in this case, local merchants need to be patient.

“(The construction) doesn’t help, but this kind of stuff has got to get done,” he said, regarding the water main replacement.

Some of the businesses directly affected by the construction on South Bradford Street include J La Salon and Spa, Wells Fargo, the law offices of Brown, Shiels and Beauregard, Compliance Environmental and Driftwood Spirits, among others.

The city of Dover Department of Public Works, along with Teal Construction, sent out a letter to area residents and businesses on Dec. 1, 2017, informing them of the scope of the project.

City Council unanimously approved to award the contract for the South Bradford Street and William Street Water Main Replacement for its bid of $682,682 on Oct. 23, 2017.

“This replacement project will install a new larger water main as well as new water services (to the right-of-way), new curb stops and new water meters,” wrote Paul Thompson, construction manager for the city’s Department of Public Works. “Customers will be notified at least 48 hours prior to any scheduled water interruptions.

“During construction, temporary road closures may be required within the scope of the project, however, your trash removal will remain available throughout the entire project. Following the necessary installation work, disturbed areas within the road will be patched and blacktopped, as well as disturbed grassed areas will be re-seeded.”

The Bradford Street parking lot will remain open throughout the construction but downtown merchants and shoppers will need to enter and exit the lot from Governors Avenue, rather than off South Bradford Street.

Mrs. Mitchell said she believes that people are getting used to dealing with the construction over time and that when the work is completed, everyone should be happy.

“Staff does send out letters to property owners on the street,” she said. “Then they follow up with more if they have to. I did contact Tina (Bradbury) in December and I think the storeowners are getting used to it.”

The letter sent out to homeowners and businesses along South Bradford Street spoke of the plusses that it expects will eventually outweigh the minuses.

“This project will improve the quality of our water, improve available capacity, increase system reliability and make improvements for fire protection,” Mr. Thompson wrote.

“On behalf of the city of Dover Department of Public Works, we would like to sincerely thank you for your cooperation with this improvement project.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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