Plans part of original Streetscape design

Officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation announced on Monday that two sidewalk projects on Old Lancaster Pike are scheduled on the 2016 repair list.

The repairs – part of a streetscape plan dating back almost seven years – are to replace or reengineer sidewalks at two bridges over small streams.

Assisting director of DelDOT’s planning division Jeff Niezgoda said DelDOT have acquired all necessary environmental permitting, but that several utilities that need to be relocated and those agencies require final permits before that work can be accomplished.

“Initially, we had thought they could relocate within in the confines of the permit, but we found out that they have to obtain some other relocation permit outside our requirements,” Niezgoda said. “They have to, on their own, go after an amended permit.”

While the project could begin as soon as the middle of February, Niezgoda said that the final utility permitting is the only thing that could affect the start of the project.

“The gas company is aggressively attacking the (permit) process,” he said.

He also said consideration is being given to ensure the project doesn’t severely impact downtown traffic and that it will be completed in time for Hockessin’s Fourth of July celebration.

DelDOT spokesman Mike Hahn said that the bridges are past the design stage and are awaiting final permits that are not directly associated with state or county requirements.

“We are very, very close to the commencement of everything,” Hahn said.”

Hahn said that for the bridge closest to Valley Road near William and Merry restaurant, the southern portion of the culvert will be extended out, and the stone parapet wall removed, similar to a widening project.

The other location near Beech Tree Lane and George and Sons’ Seafood, is a prefabricated structure and ultimately requires less work, Hahn said.

The project is estimated to take five months, and the bridges will be done one after the other.

Niezgoda said delays would be at a minimum, with at least one lane remaining open; a full closure when the bridges are actually being installed may be briefly required.

At Monday’s Greater Hockessin Area Development Association meeting, State Sen. Greg Lavelle and members of the Hockessin Business Association raised concerns over the length of the project, where the contractor’s workers would park, and how customers of local businesses would be restricted from getting to the businesses.

During the extensive Lancaster Pike resurfacing last summer, some local business owners estimate they lost roughly 25 percent of their business.

“We don’t anticipate much (of a delay) at all,” Niezgoda said. “Temporary, but not closed permanently.”

JJID Contractors, based out of Bear, will handle the construction after having proposed an accepted bid of $736,256.14.The bridges were designed by McCormick-Taylor.

The new sidewalks will be wider, safer and ADA-compliant, Niezgoda said.