OCEAN CITY- The major repaving project on the north end of Coastal Highway is moving along ahead of schedule and could be completed in time for the spring Cruisin’ event on May 19.
In March, the State Highway Administration (SHA) embarked on an ambitious plan to mill and repave both sides of Coastal Highway from 62nd Street to the Delaware line and in the weeks since, the roadway has been a maze of orange barrels, lane closures and directional signs as crews work practically around the clock. With the calendar flipping over to May this weekend and Springfest and other major events to follow, SHA officials said this week the major repaving project is ahead of schedule for the promised Friday before Memorial Day deadline and it now appears the finishing touches could be in place for the spring Cruisin’ event, which begins in May 19.
“We were hoping originally to be done by May 12, but with this last round of unfavorable weather, May 19 is a more realistic date,” said SHA Media Relations Manager David Buck. “If we get really bad weather the next full week or more, we may also work weekends and this might go closer to May 26. Right now, we are comfortable with the May 19 completion.”
Buck said the project essentially moved south from the Delaware line to 62nd Street and is now heading north along the same stretch of Coastal Highway.
“On the southbound side, the main lanes are done and the turn lanes are done with just the tie-ins to the side streets still to complete,” said Buck this week. “On the northbound side, the bus lane is done and the right lane is done. The middle lane is around three-quarters done and we still have the left lane to do.”
Buck said a run of decent weather this spring has kept the project on track, if not ahead of schedule. However, the weather could ultimately be the key for the remainder of the project and its ambitious deadlines. Rain on Wednesday and again on Thursday, for example, created a temporary setback for the project’s momentum.
“If we get a run of decent weather, we should come in ahead of that Memorial Day Friday deadline,” said Buck. “We were shooting for being completed by May 12, but that’s looking a little ambitious now. We still have much of the northbound side still to do, and then there are the street tie-ins and the striping and symbols, so realistically, that May 19 weekend is probably now the target.”
Despite much still to be done, Buck said the SHA crews are confident they can meet the promised deadlines.
“We’ve been blessed with good weather for the most part and we’re right where we want to be,” he said. “We’re actually a little bit ahead of schedule.”
Buck said the SHA crews were ramping up their efforts with the calendar changing over to May and the finish line in site.
“They’re doing double crews starting next week,” he said. “We don’t want to have to work weekends if we can help it because we don’t want to be disruptive with the special events starting, but if we get behind the eight-ball, that’s something to consider. We’re doing everything we can to get it done as quickly as possible.”
The state-funded $3.4 million resurfacing project for Coastal Highway includes an estimated 34,000 tons of new asphalt along the 4.7-mile stretch. Perhaps the most prominent feature of the project is the vast amount of striping and other markings included at the end of the repaving. With dedicated bus and bike lanes and marked crosswalks about every four blocks, the project includes 90,000 linear feet of new striping and another 8,300 square feet of new symbols and letters. SHA officials have said the vast amount of
striping and symbols on the highway are part of the SHA’s commitment to the “Walk Smart” pedestrian safety program in Ocean City and are nearly as important as the repaving of the highway itself.