Public input sought on potential Armory Road summer closure

People can speak up now about a proposed road project that will cause a four-week detour of Armory Road, possibly during the summer of 2020.

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has set up a “virtual workshop” website for the pipe replacement of Bridge 441 on Armory Road/Route 20.

Anyone can view the plans online and submit feedback, questions or concerns.

“We would appreciate input on any timing concerns, such as large annual events to avoid or times of year to avoid due to impacts to schools or businesses. Depending on the request, we may have the flexibility to accommodate such a request,” said DelDOT spokesperson C.R. McLeod.

Armory Road would only be closed at the bridge. All nearby homes and businesses will still be accessible, although some destinations may require a detour.

“Summer would be the preferred time, despite Route 20 being a popular beach route. However, the contractor is not restricted to completing the work during the summer,” said McLeod. “The contractor,” he noted of Zack Excavating, “cannot close the road for more than 28 calendar days.”

Hardly noticeable to most motorists, the culvert site is near the halfway point of the 2.5-mile road, near Parsons Road. It’s adjacent to the Parsons Farms Produce market and a half-mile from Indian River High School.

In the proposed project, DelDOT would replace the existing corrugated metal pipes in the culvert with reinforced concrete pipes. Also, new riprap protection would be installed upstream and downstream of the culvert to protect the pipes from potential stream-bed scour during large storm events.

“The bridge has a sufficiency rating of 85.2 and exhibits some minor deterioration and damage,” DelDOT noted.

The project would require a full road closure and traffic detour. DelDOT’s preferred construction time would be summer of 2020, depending on public feedback.

The official detour for through-traffic will circle the project (starting from the northwest) using Route 26/Vines Creek Road, Main Street Ext./Clayton Avenue, Honolulu Road and Omar Road. Local traffic can also use other roads to access that street.

“The project is straightforward, but federal-funded projects require some level of public involvement during design,” McLeod said.

DelDOT has begun using online workshops to save time and money on smaller projects, as well as give the public 24/7 access to the information.

People can click around the project website (https://deldot.gov/projects/bridgepipeline/BR3-441) and submit comments there. The website features photos of the existing structure (two 65-by-40-inch corrugated steel pipe arches, 52 feet long); a construction plan of the proposed pipes (91-by-58-inch elliptical reinforced concrete pipes, 80 feet long, plus riprap); as well as a road map and detour route.

Although this project doesn’t require property acquisition, the four adjacent property owners may hear from DelDOT’s real estate team beforehand. Construction will require permanent easements for the riprap apron, as well as temporary construction easements for access and stream diversion. All areas disturbed within those limits will be restored after the construction is completed.

The small bridge crosses the little Herring Branch waterway, an offshoot of the Vines Creek, which leads to the Indian River Bay.

Bridge 3-441 is part of a wider effort to repair Delaware’s aging infrastructure.

“Corrugated metal pipe culverts are corroding throughout the state,” DelDOT officials noted. “The department has over 200 bridge-length corrugated metal pipe culvert locations, most of which are at or beyond their expected 30-year service life. This project is one location of the 28 locations included in the current design-build contract.”

Before any construction could begin, “permits need to be approved, utility coordination needs to be completed (including relocating any utilities that must be moved), and the easements need to be acquired,” McLeod said.

Comments are due by Thursday, Jan. 9, at 4:30 p.m. Anyone may submit public comments on the Armory Road project:

• online at https://deldot.gov/projects/bridgepipeline/BR3-441 (“Virtual Workshop Survey/Comments”;

• by telephone to DelDOT, toll-free at 1-800-652-5600 or (302) 760-2080; or

• by mail to DelDOT Community Relations; P.O. Box 778; Dover, DE 19903.

Any person without internet access can call DelDOT to request either hard copies of the documents or a meeting to review and discuss the documents.

 

By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter