Salisbury infrastructure improvements continuing

Two major infrastructure projects on Main Street and the Riverside traffic circle are wrapping up, but Salisbury’s ambitious plan to improve infrastructure will continue over the coming months and year.

Street and stormwater improvements, pedestrian and bicyclist safety measures and a dog park are all in various stages of development, said Amanda Pollack, the city’s Director of Infrastructure and Development.

Main Street

The four-year makeover project for West Main Street should be wrapping up by mid-October as the contractor installs brick pavers, landscaping, trash cans and benches on both the Downtown Plaza and Division Street in time for a ribbon cutting on Nov. 6.

The work is all part of the ongoing Main Street revitalization project that started in 2016 when City Council members approved a $4.6 million contract and broke ground for the work which includes the replacement of 100-year-old water and sewer mains, installation of high-speed internet lines and esthetic improvements above ground.

Since then, it has slowly moved block by block from Route 13 to Mill Street. The final section on what was once known as the Downtown Plaza reopened to traffic recently.

The Plaza — the section between Mill and Division streets — was converted to a pedestrian-only area in 1968, but it was later reopened to one-way traffic and limited parking. The one-way traffic direction is now reversed so that vehicles enter from Mill Street rather than exit there.

The work also has included significant changes at Main and Division streets near the Government Office Building that altered the parking pattern and also made it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

In between two curb bump-outs on the east side of North Division Street – one near the intersection and another closer to Route 50 – there are 12 angled, back-in parking spaces.

City officials also opted to remove the traffic signal at the Main-Division intersection.

Riverside Traffic Circle

Construction recently wrapped up on a new traffic circle at the intersection of Mill Street, West Carroll Street, Riverside Drive and Camden Avenue.

The $1.48 million project got its start in 2017 when city officials paid for a study that identified multiple problems and safety issues, including traffic on southbound Mill Street that backed up all the way to Route 50 during the morning rush hour

Part of the project involved relocating the 30-foot aluminum Fred P. Adkins Memorial obelisk from the Downtown Plaza to the center of the traffic circle.

Carroll Street

Carroll Street will undergo significant changes with the addition of a two-way cycle track on the north side of the street along the river, separated from vehicular traffic with a landscaped barrier with trees and other plantings.

“It’s actually going to be a lovely place to ride a bicycle,” Pollack said.

The new cycle track will link to one on Waverly Drive and also tie into the new traffic circle at Riverside Drive, she said.

The project will include a bioretention system for stormwater before it drains into the Wicomico River.

The changes will narrow the roadway significantly, which Pollack said is designed to have a calming effect on traffic.

The project is still in the design phase with no construction date set so far.

Pedestrian Bridge

Construction of a new pedestrian bridge across the Wicomico River at the end of Camden Street behind the former Market Street Books could be happening very soon, Pollack said.

A contract is expected to be awarded this month on a prefabricated structure, with installation beginning as soon as October or November.

The 12-foot-wide bridge will be built off site, then delivered on a truck, she said. It will tie into the new Riverside traffic circle.

Next to the bridge, city officials have installed three beds of an edible garden featuring fruit trees, blueberry bushes, herbs and other edible plants. A fourth bed will be added once the bridge is completed.

Fitzwater Street

Repaving of Fitzwater Street is expected to take place in November as work on a new sewage pump station wraps up, nearly a year after city crews made an emergency repair to an aging sewer line that collapsed the week before Thanksgiving.

The overhaul of the Fitzwater-West Main Street corridor has included relining the old terra cotta pipes with a type of plastic. The $5.5 million project also includes the installation of a new sewage pump station at Fitzwater and Pearl streets that replaces one on a parcel at the Salisbury Marina that is being redeveloped.

City officials have said that some road grade angle alterations will be used to ease problems with ponding. Once the paving is completed, dedicated bicycle lanes will be added, and street parking will still be allowed, Pollack said.

New streetscaping also is planned, with curbing, sidewalks and lighting to match the improvements already in place on Main Street in Downtown Salisbury.

Riverwalk and Bark Park

While most of the city’s Riverwalk has already undergone extensive renovation work in the past couple of years, the concrete in a section in front of the Port Exchange building is due to be replaced, Pollack said.

Over the past four years, the city embarked on a $1.5 million renovation of the Riverwalk with stamped concrete walkways, new bulkheading, landscaping and lighting along both sides of the Wicomico River from Route 13 to Mill Street.

And in 2018, the city completed a new 650-seat amphitheater in time for Salisbury’s first year as host of the National Folk Festival.

The portion by the Port Exchange building and another near the Brew River restaurant – both on the other side of Mill Street — are the last remaining segments.

Nearby, work on the new Bark Park near Brew River is expected to wrap up soon.

The park will allow Salisbury’s four-legged residents to romp and play with each other and their human companions in their own designated area.

Last year, the city and SVN Miller Commercial Real Estate announced a crowd-funding campaign to raise $5,000 for a new dog park, with SVN Miller pledging to match that amount. The final fundraising total was $5,125, with another $5,000 each given by SVN Miller and SVN International.

The city created the small park area in between the Mill Street bridge and Brew River years ago with state Program Open Space funds, but it was hardly ever used. Converting it to a dog park will attract more people and will tie in well with nearby completed projects and others that are still on the drawing board, Mayor Jake Day said during the fundraising announcement.

The park includes benches for pet owners, a doggie water fountain, waste receptacles and fencing on the approximately 4,000 square feet of property running alongside the Wicomico River.

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