OCEAN CITY — Despite the persistent dreary weather, the major repaving project on the north end of Coastal Highway wrapped up this week as planned just in time for the spring Cruisin’ event, which begins today.
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. When the project was pitched to the Mayor and Council in December, SHA officials promised a finish date of the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, a goal deemed ambitious by many familiar with similar large-scale repaving projects in the resort in the past.
In late April, SHA adjusted the timeline again, suggesting with a run of good weather, the finishing touches on the project could be complete by May 19 in time for the start of the spring Cruisin’ event. Since that update in April, it has rained on more days than not, putting the ambitious new target date in jeopardy, but SHA Media Relations Manager David Buck said on Wednesday the massive undertaking was all but wrapped up.
“The good news is, the paving and line striping are 100 percent complete,” he said. “We have one night left of work, this Sunday starting around 9 p.m., to add in a few of the bus lane pavement markers in the northbound bus lane.”
Despite the persistent rain, SHA’s contractor went into overdrive over the last few weeks to meet the deadline, often working double crews and at night and on some weekends.
“Crews really had to squeeze in every available hour to get this done on time with this rainy weather and, of course, we were well aware of Springfest, Cruisin’, and Memorial Day next weekend,” he said. “Our contractor and State Highway were out cleaning up everything today so other than the bus lane marking this Sunday night, we are all wrapped up.”
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.