Delaware Avenue drainage project nears completion

Final black-topping of the road was expected to be completed early this week.

By: Carl Reader
   LAMBERTVILLE — Delaware Avenue is about to get back to its old self.
   The City Council heard a report from City Clerk Mary Sheppard on Monday night that the drainage project under Delaware Avenue is ready to start transporting runoff into the Delaware River, and resurfacing is under way.
   Soon the street will return to its usual quiet ways.
   "They started blacktopping today (Monday)," Ms. Sheppard said. "The newsletter (from the Department of Transportation) on Friday told you that the pipe is all open. Back filling is done."
   In addition, trees have been planted along the street and instructions given in the newsletter from DOT on how to take care of the new foliage. Blacktopping should have been done by Tuesday, according to Ms. Sheppard.
   Carbo Constructors, the company now wrapping up work, was awarded a $4.7 million contract to complete installation of the 900-foot trunk line from Ely Field on Route 29 (Main Street) to the Delaware River by way of Delaware Avenue after another contractor began the project. The work was started in 1998 by the first company and halted in the spring of that year.
   "It was abandoned in April of 1998 after there were some problems," Ms. Sheppard said.
   That first company halted the project after micro-tunneling technology failed to work. Carbo now is responsible for both the Ely Field grading and the Delaware Avenue projects. The first contractor to work on the dual project had attempted to run a mole under the street and failed. That was one of the reasons the contractor was changed and Carbo was brought in to do the work in 2001.
   The drainage issue on Ely Field has been a long-standing problem, dating back to 1999. Lambertville also has received $300,000 from the state to help fund a drainage project on Connaught Hill. The water taken off Connaught also would head into the river through the Delaware Avenue drain.
   It shouldn’t be long before the project on Delaware Avenue is wrapped up, according to Ms. Sheppard.
   "They expect to be out of here before the end of next week, just before the June 1 deadline to remove the trailer," Ms. Sheppard said.
   Carbo might be willing to extend the gravel plot under the trailer it is using, according to Ms. Sheppard, for use by the contractor in the next project — the improvement of North Franklin Street.
   Although Delaware Avenue is about to return to normal, there still is one more piece to the drainage puzzle to be put in place, according to Ms. Sheppard. She said a pipe is yet to be installed that will run down Main Street to handle the runoff from Alexander Avenue, the road that goes up the hill to the Phillips-Barber Family Health Center and the Lambertville-New Hope Ambulance and Rescue Squad. That pipe ultimately will connect with the Delaware Avenue pipe.
   Right now, that water runs under Route 202 and down the driveway at Lambertville Ceramics and then through an ancient culvert, according to Ms. Sheppard.
   "It’s an old, old, old system," she said. "They want to completely abandon it. That’ll be the last piece."
   The Delaware Avenue project was first in the conception stage when hippies walked the streets, and the Vietnam War raged. Ms. Sheppard said the Army Corps of Engineers initially suggested the project as a way to solve the flooding problem in Lambertville in the late 1960s.
   "The first drawing was done in 1967," she said.
   And now, finally, it’s coming to completion and should solve the flooding problem that’s for so long plagued the city.
   "That’s what they tell us," Ms Sheppard said.