More Street Improvements Approved For Berlin

More Street Improvements Approved For Berlin
Sidewalk work is pictured underway in Berlin Tuesday outside of the Blacksmith restaurant. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – Additional street repairs will soon be underway in Berlin following approval from town officials this week.

On Monday, the Berlin Town Council voted unanimously to move forward with more street resurfacing as well as corrections to the sidewalks in Walnut Hill, which have become a hazard.

“It’s a huge safety issue out there,” Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood said.

Fleetwood told the council Monday that ECM Corporation, hired earlier this summer, had completed roadwork on Harrison Avenue, Cape Circle, Flower Street, Showell Street and Bottle Branch Road, among other town streets. Because the work was done at a cost of $349,000 — less than the $550,000 the town had budgeted for street repairs — Fleetwood proposed having the company improve more streets this month. He said he wanted to see Decatur Street, Mill Road, Branch Street, Hudson Street, Grace Street and another section of Flower Street addressed.

“We’re getting $2 worth of work for $1,” he said. “Right now we’re a little over three miles of streets with all of those. That’s significant.”

He said ECM Corporation could also address sidewalk problems in Walnut Hill. Though the streets and sidewalks within the development were believed to be private for years, Fleetwood said officials had recently learned they were in fact the responsibility of the town. Fleetwood said the elevation changes in the sidewalk there needed to be addressed because the situation had become hazardous.

“I’m well aware of folks being hurt,” he said.

He said the roots of trees in the neighborhood had caused the uneven sidewalks and that roots would be cut, under the direction of arborists, to minimize the issue.

Fleetwood said he’d gotten three prices for the sidewalk work and that ECM Corporation could do it for thousands of dollars less than the other two companies he queried.

Mayor Gee Williams said that the additional work — the added streets, the sidewalks in Walnut Hill, a section of sidewalk on Pitts Street and an apron on Commerce Street — was expected to cost $150,000. That would bring the total spent to slightly more than $500,000, which would still leave more than $40,000 in the budget.

“We’re getting 40% more streets done than we originally had hoped for,” he said.

The council voted unanimously to move forward with the additional street and sidewalk work.

“You just can’t beat it,” Councilman Thom Gulyas said.

In an email to the town Monday morning, resident Jason Walter questioned whether all of the street work that had already been done by ECM Corporation had been authorized by the town. Though the email was not addressed during Monday’s meeting, in an interview Tuesday Fleetwood said that there were two projects that had been done by ECM that had not been in the original contract but had been approved by him in recent weeks. He said he’d asked ECM to redo the entry aprons at Henry Park as well as the section of Evans Road between West Street and the railroad tracks.

“I made a decision on some stuff to be done which was well within my ($10,000) spending limit,” Fleetwood said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.