A long-term closure of a portion of Route 141, near Barley Mill Plaza, has remained on schedule almost three months later, despite setbacks due to springtime weather.
The rehabilitation project--which will eventually result in the complete resurfacing of DE-141/Centre Road, between DE-48/Lancaster Pike and DE-100/Montchanin Road--began with the closure of the northbound lanes on March 15, 2018.
"Since we've closed the northbound lanes in March," updated C.R. McLeod, DelDOT Director of Community Relations, "we've seen the contractor move quickly to remove the old, damaged concrete surface from the roadway and pour the new surface, as well as working on the ramps to Route 52."
The current phase of the project, which also includes improvements to the multi-use path that runs parallel with the northbound side of the roadway, has been impacted by multiple weather interruptions throughout the first third of the timeline.
"It's been a very wet spring, as we all know, so that's definitely complicated things a little bit," McLeod acknowledged. "By our counts, over the past ten weeks, we've had more than thirty rain days. And for this specific project, how it impacts things is you can't pour concrete in the rain to ensure that it cures properly, [and] the dirt can't be moved and graded until it is dry."
The regular rainfall has also posed challenges for the work zone in terms of standing water.
"With the construction going on, the drainage system in place to collect rainwater was obviously comprised [with] a good section of the roadway taken up," McLeod detailed. "So following those heavy rains that we had, we did go back out and make sure that existing drains on the southbound lanes were clear and open. There is a small retention pond just there before Barley Mill Road, and we found that brush and debris had accumulated in some of those active drains that were having to work twice as hard to move water, with the northbound system not operating."
As two-way traffic has been directed into the southbound lanes of the project limits, and endured peak time travel delays as a result, the transformation of the opposing side of the roadway has been front and center.
From rubbilizing the prior surface, to the pour of the new one, efficient road construction methods, such as prefabricated rebar, has helped to mitigate the intermittent interruption of the crew's work.
"What they do is they have all of those made to spec before being brought out to the project. And then once the road surface has been graded and prepared for the pouring of the concrete, they lay these prefabricated rebar pieces out ahead of the concrete pouring machine. Those pieces actually become encased in the concrete and help give the concrete its strength."
DelDOT has remained confident that, even with the weather-related disruptions, the contractor, R.E. Pierson Construction, of Pilesgrove, New Jersey, has made appropriate progress.
"In the next couple of weeks, you'll see guardrail work happening, striping, they'll be putting up the new signage along the sides of the roadway as well," McLeod promised. "We're really happy with the work that's been done out there and, for all intents and purposes, the project is moving along on schedule at this time."
The northbound lanes of the restored roadway are projected to reoopen by mid-July, when the southbound side will then undergo its rehabilitation.