FENWICK ISLAND – The first phase of a sidewalk construction project in Fenwick Island commenced this week.
On Tuesday, crews with A-Del Construction began work on a long-awaited sidewalk project in Fenwick Island. Officials say the contractor has started at Indian Street, in front of Warren’s Station restaurant, and will move south to Dagsboro Street in the coming weeks.
“With good weather, we are hoping A-Del can do one block a week,” a social media post from the town reads.
A town-led sidewalk construction project began in earnest last year, when the Fenwick Island Town Council signed off on a contract with Century Engineering to begin design work for the first phase of construction. With more than $600,000 set aside, officials say the town will be able to install sidewalks along five bayside blocks from Dagsboro to Indian streets.
“Former Mayor (Vicki) Carmean had worked during her tenure to push the state to build sidewalks and, when the state failed to do so, obtained funding from Representative Ron Gray and the Sussex County Council,” the town said in a social media statement. “With the money obtained, the town can construct five blocks of sidewalk in our northwest area of our commercial district that will benefit pedestrians as well as our businesses.”
Officials say the sidewalk construction project has been 20 years in the making. And while the town has secured funding for the first phase of construction, officials say they will continue to work with the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to install walkways along the remainder of Coastal Highway.
“I had some good discussions with them, and I have a commitment from their lead engineer that he is going to put us on the list for funding for engineering studies in the 2024 cycle … with the hope that if all goes well we will be on the list for funding for the rest of the town sidewalks in 2025, with bids going out in May,” Mayor Natalie Magdeburger said last month.
Officials say the goal of the sidewalk construction project is to make Fenwick Island safe for pedestrians and improve access to local businesses.
The first phase of the project calls for 5-foot-wide, ADA-compliant sidewalks, as well as a buffer area between the sidewalk and neighboring commercial properties. Officials are also hoping the project will encourage DelDOT officials to support a state-led sidewalk project in town.
“We are hoping by doing these four or five blocks, it will show DelDOT we are serious about this, and that they will finish the rest,” Councilman Ed Bishop, a member of the town’s pedestrian safety committee, said in January.