State Highway officials give Ocean City Council updates for ongoing, future projects
(April 12, 2019) Repaving work on Coastal Highway, south of 26th Street, is on track to finish well before the busy summer season, according to State Highway Administration District One Engineer Jay Meredith.
Coastal Highway resurfacing was among a number of roadway projects and traffic concerns reviewed during the Maryland State Highway Administration’s spring update, presented during an Ocean City Council work session on Tuesday.
In addition to already wrapping up a large chunk of repaving work, Meredith said sidewalk upgrades to improve ADA compliant ramps along Coastal Highway, which previously posed tripping hazards because of raised portions of concrete, have been redone.
“The contractor is getting ready to mobilize later this month to complete 9th Street to Route 50 and [then] Route 50 to Baltimore Avenue,” he said.
The second mobilization for milling is tentatively slated for April 22 until May 11, with paving following those efforts from May 6 until May 18. All dates are weather dependent.
Storm drain cleaning
Meredith said state highway crews were budgeted for an initial phase of work to address long-neglected storm drain piping and catch basins, which was terminated when funds were depleted, but would commence when more financing is secured.
“Those funds are used, so now we are trying to put an additional contact together to continue that process,” he said.
Meredith said corrective measures have been taken to adjust sewer manhole lids installed below grade in wheel travel lanes during resurfacing work on Coastal Highway, between 62nd Street and 26th Street last year.
“We don’t really have the resources to go out and discover all of the other ones that are there, because we know that there’s a lot of them,” he said.
Still, Meredith said if required his agency would gladly coordinate with Public Works Director Hal Adkins to locate other problem spots.
“As future projects come along certainly we’re going to raise those as well,” he said.
Bike path 60th-64th Streets
Jana Potvin, SHA Assistant District Engineer-Traffic, summarized options for bike path signage on northbound Coastal Highway between 60th and 64th Streets.
Potvin, who also sits on Ocean City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, said the issue was raised during the group’s previous meetings.
With two left turn lanes on northbound Coastal Highway at 62nd Street, space requirements would not permit a distinct bike lane, with the only viable option left being to terminate the dedicated lane at that juncture, Potvin said.
“We proposed to end the bike lane, with appropriate signage … and them pick it back up around 63rd Street where the bus lane begins,” she said.
Potvin said her impression was the Bicycle Advisory Committee was in agreement with the suggestion and a subsequent work order was issued that is anticipated for completion by May.
Councilman Tony DeLuca, also a member of the bicycle committee, said several years have been spent searching for a suitable solution and questioned the option proposed.
“Some people on the BPAC thinks this is dangerous solution,” he said.
DeLuca proposed additional signage encouraging bicyclists to dismount where the dedicated lane dies and walk their rides the next three blocks.
“That way, they have the option of continuing in the slow lane, which I dislike, or they can stop right there, dismount, and walk it on the sidewalk,” he said.
Noting comparable signs are in use at the Route 50 bridge, Potvin said both approaches could be deployed.
Meredith also noted state highway are legally bound to install bikes use full lane signs where appropriate.
“Maryland law dictates to us that bikers can use the full lane,” he said.
Route 50 bridge
Meredith updated a pair of projects underway on the Route 50 bridge, beginning with an encouraging report regarding underside concrete restoration efforts.
“The contractor is out there working on it,” he said. “We don’t feel it is a structural deficiency.”
Meredith also noted work got underway this week to replace chain link fencing on the bridge because of corrosion issues.
Hike/Bike trail Rt. 50 Bridge
Meredith said improvements along the Route 50 corridor into Ocean City, including a dual-use trail and limited resurfacing work, would commence shortly.
Since the work is primarily located off the main roadway and is not anticipated to impact traffic, the project is slated to continue unabated through summer, and be completed by Spring 2021 at the latest, Meredith said.