OCEAN CITY — Clearly one of the most visible and enduring winter projects in Ocean City is nearing completion with only curb and sidewalk restoration work yet to complete.
In October, Delmarva Power began a major $10 million transmission line project along Coastal Highway and several months later, the finishing touches are underway and should be wrapped up shortly. Delmarva Power, throughout much of the late fall, winter and early spring, rebuilt the existing 69,000-volt transmission line from its Maridel substation on 41st Street to the Ocean Bay substation on 85th Street.
The project included the replacement of 90 wooden utility poles, most of which were over 40 years old, with galvanized steel poles that require less maintenance and are built to withstand winds of up to 120 miles per hour. Nearly half of the existing poles were 65 feet tall and held the 69,000 volt transmission line between 41st Street and 85th Street, but were replaced with 90-foot tall steel poles in order to achieve greater safety clearance from nearby businesses. The other shorter, wooden distribution poles located between the taller poles were also replaced with steel poles or roughly the same height.
The project began in mid-October and was originally targeted for a late February completion date for the poles and wiring, with a mid-April target date for the post-project clean-up work. The unusually harsh winter with multiple snow storms and other weather events did conspire to push the completion date back somewhat, but with the calendar turning over to May this week, the project is just about wrapped up.
According to Delmarva Power Media Relations Manager Matt Likovich, the installation of the poles and the associated wire work was completed a couple of weeks ago, but crews are still completing curb and sidewalk restoration work, which is expected to be wrapped up in the next few days.
Delmarva Power crews worked throughout the winter and early spring on the installation of the new poles. The project caused multiple lane changes and other traffic disruptions along northbound Coastal Highway throughout the winter.
Early on, there was some displeasure voiced over the size and height of the new poles, which are higher than many of the buildings along the resort’s main corridor. In November, the Mayor and Council called Delmarva Power Senior Public Affairs Specialist Jim Smith in to address some issues. In the end, it was agreed the power reliability and safety features of the new poles outweighed any aesthetic concerns.