SHA Continues Work On Handicap Sidewalk Cuts

OCEAN CITY – At last week’s Mayor and City Council meeting, the State Highway Administration (SHA) reviewed its list of projects for the roadways in town.

District Engineer Donnie Drewer said the project to mill and re-surface north bound lanes on Philadelphia Avenue between 9th and 26th streets is finished and the SHA is in the process of replacing pavement markings.

“As luck would have it, we had a little money left so we’re in the process of doing the southbound side as far as marking, and making the sidewalk ADA [Americans with Disability Act] compatible,” Drewer said.

Drewer explained that the resurfacing of the southbound lanes is in the program but the Public Works Department needs to complete pipe work before the SHA can finish that.

Mayor Rick Meehan asserted that the ADA sidewalks in that area have caused problems for traffic, with cars “banging” into them.

Assistant District Engineer Ken Cimino explained that the SHA has realized the problems with those ADA sidewalk locations and the office of traffic and safety has come up with a retrofit.

“As we progress along with the ADA enhancements, we will be removing those and replacing them with a more user-friendly version,” Cimino said.

The next item on the list was in reference to the roadway failure on Philadelphia Avenue from 1st Street to North Division Street. Drewer said that the SHA plans on milling it out and having it fixed by spring of next year.

“A lot of the work we plan on having done by spring of next year is based on budget issues,” Drewer said. “Depending on how difficult of a winter we have, if we have a mild or normal winter a lot of this work, we would be able to have it done by Memorial Day next year.”

According to Drewer, the work toward the ADA sidewalk improvement contract is continuing to move north.

“We continue to work our way from 3rd Street north to make all sidewalks from 3rd Street to the Delaware line ADA compatible,” he said.

Drewer added that the SHA would continue that process until the money funded is exhausted and then it will stop and wait for more funding. The goal of being finished by Memorial Day of next year will probably not happen, Drewer admitted.

“We have a request in to get the rest of the funding to get to the Delaware line,” he said. “I would say within the next year or so we should be to the Delaware line.”

Drewer confirmed that the SHA has accepted the ownership and obligations for all the sidewalks that fall within the city limits.

Drewer acknowledged that the sidewalks, in several locations, have been raised due to the root growth of street trees and have caused “potential tripping places.” Drewer said that those locations would be reviewed after the winter and those that the SHA has funding for will be fixed. Crews will work with public works to have the roots grounded down.

Cimino reviewed the traffic light reconstruction progress. The 133rd Street location is the next light on the list and Cimino expects that location to be completed by the end of this calendar year.

Councilwoman Margaret Pillas asserted that the traffic light on 1st Street and Philadelphia Avenue has been a problem. The timing is off and it causes 2nd Street traffic to back up. Drewer said he would get it on the list.

The Public Works Department wants to see the installation of 1670 AM Radio signage on mast arms at all signalized intersections for emergency notifications and in the vicinity of the three entrances to town, Routes 50, 90 and 54.

Drewer said SHA is receptive to talking about the three entrances but it does not want to put signage on every mast arm.

A citizen had written Public Works Director Hal Adkins, questioning the combination of static green arrows and red lights at North Division Street.

“We have initiated an intersection and roadway analysis to determine the impacts,” Cimino said. “Currently, all the consultant is doing is reviewing accident data over the past three years…I’m expecting an initial draft report hopefully by the end of the month.”

Drewer also responded to an email that Pillas had received concerning the unmarked crosswalks in the median of Coastal Highway. He said that as SHA moves northward in working on the ADA compatible sidewalks, those pathways would be eliminated.

“If we leave them there, it’s saying it is safe to cross there,” Drewer said.
“And it’s not,” Meehan added.