Road construction is set to begin this fall on Railroad and Adams Avenues, kicking off a $2.34 million joint project between the City of Lewes and the Lewes Board of Public Works.
While conditions are set for the work, the same is not true for the second part of the project, Railroad and Monroe Avenues, which is set for a different fiscal year. Officials agreed that before they could begin this design phase, they needed to gather feedback on any issues that are currently present or that may emerge. Although repairs are planned for the road surface, the general consensus is that the underground conditions should be checked before work begins. The city will pay just over half of the total cost of the project and BPW will pay the rest.
Discussions on the Railroad Avenue project took place at a joint meeting on March 28. Councilman Tim Ritzert also spoke about the potential need for repairs to the marina and university walkways. Funds are set aside for milling and surfacing work on both roads, but none is earmarked for drainage issues. BPW chief executive Austin Calaman said the department has funds set aside each year for road improvements, but it is a general fund. BPW officials acknowledged current drainage issues, but also noted that both roads are experiencing less traffic than other current and future projects.
Inefficient drain boxes create problems, and because they’re located on the sidewalk, Ritzert wondered if strategic planning between the two entities could help alleviate the problems. Engineer George, Miles & Buhr has carried out a city-wide assessment of sidewalks in Lewes, and a program is being planned for tender. The Lewes Charter states that property owners are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of sidewalks on their property.
Drainage issues at Lewes Beach were also discussed, with the town and BPW open to considering another joint venture. No costs were anticipated, but there is currently no stormwater management infrastructure in this area, so system installations would be required, and Lewes Beach stormwater work would likely be related to the Cedar Street project. Surface and ground water concerns have been raised, so American Rescue Plan Act funds could potentially cover the cost of preliminary studies.