U.S. 13 Sewer Rehab Project mostly completed

Kent County Levy Court’s U.S. 13 Sewer Rehabilitation Project, which involved slip-lining 2.8 miles of sewer lines, was completed in December. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Taking advantage of public workshops and ensuring proper preparedness helped make Kent County Levy Court’s extensive $8.4 million U.S. 13 Sewer Rehabilitation Project go as smoothly as possible over the past six months, according to Diana Golt, director of public works for Kent County.

Mrs. Golt said that beside some minor site restoration work, most of the large-scale project was completed by late December.

The project team successfully installed more than 15,000 linear feet of sewer pipe within six months over 2.8 miles, most of which was located in the median of U.S. 13 between Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus in North Dover south to Garden Lane by the Capital Commons shopping center.

“It was about 2.8 miles of slip-lining the sewer lines, with the majority of the work taking place on U.S. Route 13, the main route through Dover, from Garden Lane near the Big Lots store to Denny’s Road,” Mrs. Golt said. “The (sewer lines) were rehabilitated, and with the age of them, they needed it. There was a history of breaks in the area of C.F. Schwartz and Lowe’s.”

The project team included: Kent County Levy Court; KCI Technologies Inc.; United States Department of Agriculture; Delaware Department of Natural Resource and Environmental Control; Delaware Department of Transportation and George and Lynch.

While there were several lane closures that took place during the construction work, there didn’t appear to be any major traffic disturbances except during peak traffic times in the morning and evening commutes.

“KCI were our engineers for the project and we (Kent County) did a couple of public workshops for the project,” Mrs. Golt said. “KCI also went door-to-door to make sure people knew what was going on. There was a residential section on Garden Lane that was affected but once (the construction) got to Route 13 you were dealing with businesses. We received very few complaints for the project.

“The bigger issue were the temporary lane closures or median crossovers that were closed during the project. From a safety perspective, people didn’t always pay attention our (traffic) signs.”

The U.S. 13 Sewer Rehabilitation Project was years in planning and addressed the aging 1970s-era concrete sewer pipe that runs under the U.S. 13 median. Over the past five years the pipe had become an increasingly urgent concern for public works officials.

The hard-to-reach stretch of sewer line developed a crack several years ago, officials said. As a result, a portion of the county’s sewage had to be diverted through the city of Dover’s sewer infrastructure to avoid continuous spilling.

The project addressed the issue by slip-lining the entire 2.8-mile length of force main. With this method, a smaller plastic pipe is slipped inside the damaged concrete pipe to block the break. The repair is considered a “long-term” fix.

“From the aspect of sewer service, there were no customers impacted,” Mrs. Golt said. “No one was cut off from sewer service. We’re very pleased.”

The remaining site restoration work, which will take place in the spring, will include grading, seeding and stabilization needed for grass growth within the median and construction staging area.