Morris Mill Project Completion Delayed Again

SALISBURY – A new timeline for rehabilitation work at Morris Mill Dam will delay the opening of South Division Street.

The contractor for the high hazard Morris Mill Dam project has requested an extension until the end of May, according to a statement issued this week from the Wicomico County Executive’s Office. As a result, a portion of South Division Street – which has remained closed since work on the dam began in 2018 – will not be open until that time.

“The contactor cited errors in developing the original schedules, which incorrectly identified Dec. 31, 2019 and March 31, 2020 as previous completion dates,” the statement reads.

Work on the Morris Mill Dam began in September of 2018 and was initially scheduled to be completed in a year, according to a statement released in November. However, water was found seeping through the dam shortly after construction started, requiring crews to halt work and complete a redesign of the project.

“The redesign required a lengthy re-permitting process by the Maryland Department of the Environment Dam Safety Division (MDE) to ensure the High Hazard Dam met current federal and state dam safety requirements,” the statement from November reads. “When work resumed in late spring 2019 the estimated construction completion date was late fall/end of December.”

In November, however, Public Works Director Dallas Baker announced the contractor had revised the schedule with a new completion date of late March. He noted construction challenges that crews have had to contend with included a live 6-inch gas main within the construction area, overhead utilities, water seepage from the pond and surrounding groundwater and poor soil conditions.

“The dam design has changed significantly,” Baker said in November.

With less than a month remaining until the projected completion date, officials announced this week that completing work on the dam had been delayed once again.

They noted, however, that the contractor is now working 10-hour days and Saturdays in an effort to reduce the schedule as much as possible.

Officials are asking those with questions and concerns to contact Wicomico County Public Works-Roads Division at 410-548-4872.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.