By Jane Smith
    
    The rainy weather in the first half of June did not delay the contractor working on the promenade along Delray Beach’s municipal beach, a city staffer said.
    But the contractor has asked for a three-day extension because of the work shutdown over the Fourth of July weekend, said Missie Barletto, deputy program director in the Environmental Services Department.
    The city and the contractor plan to allow pedestrians full access for the July 4 festivities through open and protected walkways to the beach.  
    Parking will be limited along the ocean, with meters removed from the south side of the municipal beach. Festival-goers are urged to park west of the Intracoastal Waterway in city garages and parking lots and then take the Downtown Trolley to Northeast/Southeast Seventh Avenue, and walk or bike over to the beach.
    For the event, city police will close Ocean Boulevard at 2 p.m. from Thomas Street to Bucida Road, one block past Casuarina Road on the south. That stretch won’t be reopened until the crowds clear after the fireworks end on the north end of the city’s beach, according to the Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative. The fireworks show will start at 9 p.m.
    City police also will close East Atlantic Avenue at Northeast/Southeast Seventh Avenue at 1:30 p.m. July 4. Festivities start at 8 a.m. with a sandcastle-building contest on the beach. For a list of activities and parking information, festival-goers are urged to check this website: JulyFourth DelrayBeach.com.
    Meanwhile, the $3.1 million upgrade to the municipal beach promenade is moving toward an early fall completion date for the 1.25-mile project.
    In June, the contractor finished removing the entire sidewalk from the south end. Access remains the same on the north end. South of Atlantic Avenue, beach-goers are urged to use the designated entrances. Signs are posted to help pedestrians find the way.
    Underground piping for the showers and fountains continues to be installed between the Sandoway parking lot and Boston’s Sand Bar. Concrete forms for the new sidewalk, north of Lifeguard Tower No. 5, continue to be installed, along with concrete pouring for the sidewalk.
Starting July 5, the work zone will shift north of the Sandoway parking lot to the Marriott Hotel. The sidewalk and parking in that area will be closed. The contractor will begin installing smart meters between Casuarina Road and the Sandoway lot the week of July 10.
Sandblasting of the knee wall, north of Atlantic Avenue, continues.
    The promenade enhancements are nearly 10 years in the making. The work west of the dunes will feature wider sidewalks and coordinated shower poles, benches, bike and surfboard racks, trash/recycling containers and signs to replace the current hodgepodge of styles. Smart parking meters will be solar-powered.
    Bicyclists can still ride on Ocean Boulevard, but they are urged to use caution. The bike lane on the east side will be narrowed with barriers to protect the public from the construction work.
    Beach benches, plaques and stone memorials have been removed and are stored. The city is asking donors to contact project manager Isaac Kovner at 243-7000, ext. 4119, to discuss options.

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