By Jane Smith
Construction work to replace the pavers in four barrier island crosswalks on East Atlantic Avenue has stopped for the season and will resume in May, according to a Delray Beach department head.
The four crosswalks at the intersections of Gleason Street and Venetian Drive with East Atlantic have reopened, Susan Goebel-Canning, Delray Beach public works director, wrote in mid-November.
“During the project, we identified a water main leak,” Goebel-Canning wrote. “The leak needed to be addressed prior to construction of the crosswalk, so it appeared that construction ceased.”
The project was on a tight schedule with an anticipated Dec. 3 completion date. Fixing the water main leak pushed the crosswalk work into the holiday season, according to Goebel-Canning.
“As a result, two-thirds of the project was completed before we needed to open the road again,” Goebel-Canning wrote. “You will see fresh asphalt, which allowed the road to be open.”
Some East Atlantic Avenue merchants had complained to the City Commission about the road work during high season.
Sales were off about 30 percent compared with the same period last year at C. Orrico Delray Beach, said store manager Sue Vidulich.
“We were absolutely affected,” she said. “Customers could not turn left onto Seabreeze Avenue to enter our parking lot. They had to drive down Atlantic and make a U-turn. Guests at the Seagate Hotel could not find a safe place to cross Atlantic to get to our store.”
Vidulich is happy the construction ended in time for the Holiday Beachside Stroll on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The women’s clothing boutique, which sells Lilly Pulitzer fashions, planned to make it a festive day.
The Florida Department of Transportation owns Atlantic Avenue on the barrier island. The crosswalk pavers have shifted, creating an uneven surface, and need to be replaced.
FDOT does not permit the use of pavers in its streets, although the department did allow the pavers at the time the crosswalks were installed about 10 years ago, said Barbara Kelleher, FDOT spokeswoman.
Under FDOT rules, cities can use stamped concrete, which looks like pavers.
The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency will cover the $329,965 cost to R&D Paving LLC of West Palm Beach for the upgrade.
By Jane Smith