Parking banned, but construction steps up


By Tony E. Windsor

Patrons of stores in downtown High Street, Seaford, will need to pay close attention to special signs that will be directing them where to park.
As of March 6, there will be no storefront parking along High Street. This decision was made after the streetscape project contractor notified the city of concerns about traffic safety during the construction project.
David Horsey and Sons, the contractor doing the High Street project said that traffic has been a concern over the past few weeks. Congestion in the area of the construction work has resulted in a potential for accidents.
Seaford Building Official, Charles Anderson, said the city has tried to maintain two lanes of traffic traveling both east and west, however the contractor's concerns have resulted in a need to make changes.
"There is a lot of large equipment being used along High Street and the operators have to be focused on what they are doing because the work is being done so close to buildings," he said.
"To make sure that they don't hit a building, the operators are not able to deal with the traffic."
Anderson said the construction crews not only have to deal with concerns surrounding motor vehicle traffic, but also the pedestrian traffic that can at times be heavy, especially in the area of the post office.
Anderson said the city had given preliminary consideration to closing down the west bound lane of traffic to allow eastbound traffic and parking to be accommodated while construction is occurring on the other side of the street. The westbound traffic would then be rerouted along secondary roads, including King Street.
However, after concerns about such things as existing construction being done in the area of King Street, the city decided it would instead implement a plan for alternative parking and leave both lanes of traffic open.

Seaford City Manager Dolores Slatcher said the city will erect signs that will direct motorists to special off-street parking areas.
Some of these include the city's parking lot on the corner of Market and High streets and the Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church parking lot.
"The signs will be specially made and will be very visible," she said.
"DelDOT has also arranged for us to have message boards placed at each end of High Street to keep motorists aware of the posted off street parking."
Traffic using High Street regularly since the construction project started a few months ago, may very well expect to continue to experience the rigors of construction for at least another few months.
Anderson said the recent snowstorm cost the contractor three full weeks of work. "We had hoped that though weather was bad, maybe crews could get a few days in," he said.
"But, there were three weeks when nothing could be done because of the terrible conditions."
Anderson said the contractor is dedicated to getting the job done on time and made an offer to the city as a method to help make up for lost time.
During the Tuesday, Feb. 22, meeting of Seaford Mayor and Council, representatives of David Horsey and Sons offered to split the cost of having an engineer onsite during special Saturday work hours.
"It is necessary to have an inspector available from the city's engineering firm in order to assure conformity in the work that is being done," Anderson said.
"If the contractor works overtime, the inspector has to be there. The contractor is seeking to work the next 25 Saturdays for six hours a day in order to make up for work lost because of weather."
Anderson said the cost of the engineer is estimated to be about $16,000. The city agreed to the request of the contractor and will pay up to $8,000 to have an inspector onsite during the overtime work.
Horsey will absorb all costs associated with any overtime worked by crews and is hoping that if weather allows, the High Street improvement project will be completed in time for the city's annual Nanticoke Riverfest in early August.
Anderson said the city will maintain contact with High Street merchants and the public during the construction work.
He said overall, the public has been very understanding during the construction project.
"No one thought this would be an easy project," Anderson said. "We knew this would be a monster and things will tend to crop up. But, we are making adjustments and though we are at the mercy of many things, including the weather, we hope this project will be completed by early August."