Project ex­pands

DelDOT broad­ens scope of Main St. repaving

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­

A sum­mer project to repave Main Street has ex­panded in scope af­ter state trans­porta­tion of­fi­cials re­al­ized the con­di­tion of the road is worse than orig­i­nally thought.

The work, still set to be­gin early this sum­mer, will now in­clude a full re­con­struc­tion of the road, said Ge­orge LeCates, a project man­ager for the Delaware Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

The orig­i­nal plan was to do a stan­dard mill and over­lay, which con­sists of scrap­ing off 2 to 3 inches of the pave­ment and re­plac­ing it with new as­phalt. How­ever, that would only last about seven years, LeCates said.

The prob­lem lies more than a foot un­der the road sur­face, where there’s old con­crete be­neath the as­phalt. When joints in the con­crete fail, it dam­ages the as­phalt above.

“You can see ev­ery joint if you ride down and look,” LeCates said, ex­plain­ing they ap­pear as hor­i­zon­tal cracks in the road.

The con­crete would have to be patched any­way, so DelDOT de­cided to re­place it in­stead. Crews will dig up the en­tire road sur­face, get­ting rid of the aging con­crete and re­plac­ing it with ap­prox­i­mately 14 inches of as­phalt.

The work will be more com­plex but will last up to twice as long, an im­por­tant fac­tor con­sid­er­ing the dif­fi­culty in do­ing work on a highly traf­ficked road, LeCates said.

“It’s no fun to go [work] on Main Street. It’s dis­rup­tive and in­con­ve­nient,” he said. “Let’s fix it for good and we’ll see you ev­ery 10 or 12 years, maybe longer.”

LeCates said the project is still slated to last about a year and said the ex­panded scope shouldn’t af­fect drivers much more than the orig­i­nal plan would have. How­ever, Ne­wark of­fi­cials warned in a re­port that the project will be “more dis­rup­tive.”

“The ad­di­tional work of dig­ging up the foun­da­tion and re­build­ing means there will be a longer con­struc­tion time,” city spokes­woman Kelly Bach­man said.

In con­junc­tion with the repaving, city of­fi­cials are plan­ning the in­stal­la­tion of sev­eral “parklets” along Main Street.

Parklets take up one or more on-street park­ing spa­ces, typ­i­cally ex­tend­ing out from the side­walk and span­ning the width of the park­ing space, and are a grow­ing trend in cities like Los An­ge­les, San Fran­cisco and Seat­tle. Ameni­ties could in­clude benches, bi­cy­cle park­ing, land­scap­ing and pub­lic art in­stal­la­tions.

By stan­dard­iz­ing the size of park­ing spa­ces — some are cur­rently larger than the stan­dard 19 feet long — the project will ac­tu­ally re­sult in an ad­di­tional four spa­ces. That in­cludes eight des­ig­nated hand­i­capped spa­ces, of which there are cur­rently none.

The Down­town Ne­wark Part­ner­ship has been work­ing on the parklet pro­posal for sev­eral years, and the planned repaving project is an ideal time to im­ple­ment it.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity to in­tro­duce some land­scap­ing and some of the niceties,” Joe Charma, who chairs the DNP’s De­sign Com­mit­tee, ex­plained last year. “It would give peo­ple a place to re­lax down­town with a cold bev­er­age or an ice cream cone.”


An artist’s ren­der­ing shows what Main Street could look like fol­low­ing a project to repave the road and in­stall parklets.

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