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DOVER — In early July shovels will finally bite the dirt in a long-anticipated sewer project under U.S. Route 13 in Dover, said Kent County’s Public Works Department.

Kent County Levy Court commissioners voted to approve a more than $5-million dollar project bid from George & Lynch, Inc. on Tuesday.

Originally budgeted for about $6 million, the project’s expected costs have risen to about $8.46 million including materials, construction and engineering, said the county’s public works director Diana Golt.

The majority of the funds will be supplied through USDA loans, but some will come from DNREC and the county’s coffers.

Over the past five years the aging 1970s-era concrete sewer pipe running under the Route 13 median from Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus south to Garden Lane by the Capital Commons shopping center has become an increasingly urgent concern for Kent County’s public works department.

The notoriously hard-to-reach stretch of sewer line developed a crack several years ago to the extent that a portion of the county’s sewage had to be diverted through the city of Dover’s sewer infrastructure to avoid continuous spilling.

The project laid out to address the issue calls for slip-lining the entire roughly 2-mile length of force main. With this method, a smaller pipe is slipped inside the damaged pipe to block the break.

The repair is considered a “long-term” fix. During the process, public works will need to interrupt the sewage flow through the line at certain points to continue work.

“We hope materials will arrive by the end of June and to have construction start after July 4th,” said Ms. Golt.
One of the primary concerns public works has had to contend with is orchestrating with DelDOT to ensure there is minimal interruption to the traffic-heavy corridor.

Ms. Golt has noted that much of the work can be done from inside the medians, and closures will often be limited to single turn lanes. However, DelDOT will be enforcing certain restrictions around high-traffic events, such as the NASCAR events at the Dover International Speedway in October.

They’re also pushing for a specific sunset date.

“Because of restrictions associated with the holiday season, we need to be completing the work by early November,” said Ms. Golt. “Black Friday shopping starts then and traffic can really pick up.”

Ms. Golt noted that a series of public meetings to answer questions about the project will begin in the coming weeks.

For times and locations, visit co.kent.de.us/.

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com