Dover’s North Street closed for improvements

A portion of North Street will be closed for much of April due to sidewalk and other improvements being made to the area around the road. (Delaware State News photo by Mike Finney)

DOVER — In an effort to improve sidewalks, signs and landscaping along North Street in Dover, the road will be closed until Wednesday, April 25, pending weather.

Construction by Newark-based contractor Grassbusters Landscaping Co. is currently taking place on North Street between South Queen Street and South New Street.

Ann Gravatt, the program manager who works for the Delaware Department of Transportation, said the closure of portions of North Street is not meant to be a cruel April Fool’s joke for motorists who travel from the west side of the city into downtown.

“We do need to finish up the sidewalk and we’re shutting (North Street) down block by block,” Ms. Gravatt said. “The timing of where the work will take place is going to be up to the contractor .

“We are doing our best to make pedestrian walkways ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant and to fill in missing gaps while we can.”

Grassbusters Landscaping was awarded the contract for the improvements on Aug. 14, 2017, with a bid of $913,294.

The scope of the work includes sidewalk removal and replacement, ADA upgrades, pedestrian signal upgrades, lighting, drainage improvements, milling and paving.

The city of Dover is the sponsor of the project, which is jointly funded through the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program.

“This is a project that the city of Dover came to us to do under the Transportation Alternatives Program, which offers a (funding) match under the highway federal program,” Ms. Gravatt said. “The sponsor, which is the city of Dover, will receive a 20 percent match while the federal government pays the remaining 80 percent.”

The total project cost is expected to be $1,513,310.27, according to Del-DOT.

Ms. Gravatt said motorists heading into the area should have a plan.

“There’s a lot of sidewalk work to do,” she said. “The motoring public needs to figure out alternative routes if they plan to be traveling down North Street for much of April.”

DelDOT has posted detour signs in the work area for motorists.

Eastbound traffic headed into downtown should turn right onto Queen Street, left to Water Street and left to New Street and return to North Street.

Westbound traffic going out of the city should turn left on New Street, right onto Water Street and right to New Street and back to NorthStreet.

The Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization noted the importance of North Street in the “Dover Transit Center Neighborhood Plan and Design Book” it released in 2010.

It said, “North Street is utilized as a service alleyway for the buildings that face Loockerman Street, and as a moderately traveled access street from the capital area to many residential subdivisions, stores and restaurants on the west side of the city” and that “NorthStreet is the main gateway into downtown from the west.”

City set for ‘Spring Clean Up’

While the weather might not feel like spring yet, the city of Dover’s Public Works Department is preparing for its annual “Spring Clean Up,” which will take place from April 9-20.

Residents of Dover are encouraged to get rid of unwanted items that might be cluttering their homes and yards.

Sharon Duca, the Public Works director, expects this year will be a busy one, especially after three nor’easter storms hit the city in March.

“Our ‘Spring Clean Up’ is pretty successful every year,” Ms. Duca said. “The regular bulk household waste and yard waste go up significantly compared to normal weeks. We expect it will be no different this time around after all of the storms that we’ve had recently.”

“Spring Clean Up” collection takes place following residents’ regular collection.

Bulk yard waste will be collected the same day as a household’s recycling and bulk household collection will take place the opposite week of recycling.

For customers who have their waste collected on Friday, leaves will be collected on April 9 and 16.

Each home will get one bulk yard waste and one household waste pick up.

City of Dover customers are not limited to the amount of trash they can put out, but they must keep it in front of their home only, avoiding electrical lines and parked cars.

Residents are asked to not bag their leaves – simply place them on the street and the leaf truck will be by the day after their scheduled trash day.

Large tree limbs should be cut in lengths of less than 8 feet while small loose limbs must be bundled using biodegradable twine.

Smaller yard waste should still be placed in a yard waste can.

The city of Dover cannot pick up: Tires, concrete, bricks, car parts, chemicals and hazardous waste, construction debris, etc.

Those with questions are asked to call 736-7025.

City flushing out brown water

The Public Works Department will be flushing various sections of the city’s water distribution system to try and alleviate concerns regarding brown water from Sunday, April 8, until Friday, April 27.

Ms. Duca said that flushing of Dover’s water system is not much different that what other communities experience.

“Over the years it (brown water) has decreased it terms of the number of compaints that we’ve received, but flushing is going to have to be something that we have to continue to keep up,” she said. “It’s no different than other communities, really.”

Staff intends to flush all sectors of the distribution system while time and weather conditions permit.

Flushing will occur continuously each night from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., starting on Sunday evening and ending on Friday morning.

In the event of adverse weather conditions, the flushing operations may be postponed by one week.

The 15-night flushing schedule is posted on the city’s website at www.cityofdover.com.

The Department of Public Works anticipates increased amounts of brown water within the system until the flushing operation is complete.

Any customers who experience discolored water should run cold water to clear their service lines. It is recommended that one faucet be utilized to clear service lines, preferably an outside faucet.

Questions regarding this issue should be directed to the city of Dover Department of Public Works at 736-7025. During non-business hours, call 736-7060 24 hours, 7 days a week or via email at waterquality@dover.de.us.

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

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