Delaware residents can expect to see an increase in orange barrels soon.
This week, the city will close a portion of East Central Avenue to allow for railroad crossing repair work and also launch its annual street-paving program.
From Monday, April 28, to May 5, East Central Avenue will be closed to through traffic between Lake Street and the intersection of Central Avenue and William Street, which is known locally as the Point.
The closure, which will allow CSX to complete maintenance work at its crossing at Central Avenue, also will offer an opportunity to the city.
"This is an excellent opportunity to undertake resurfacing work on East Central Avenue," city spokesman Lee Yoakum said.
Yoakum said the closure gives the city and CSX a chance to correct two problems at one time and limit traffic delays in the area. CSX officials could not be reached for comment on the project.
A detour advising drivers to use Lake and William streets to bypass the closure will be posted. Police officers will be stationed between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Lake Street's intersections with East Central Avenue and William Street to help ease traffic in the area.
Two days into the closure, the city will launch the first phase of this year's street-paving program. The city will spend about $580,000 on the first phase -- which begins Wednesday, April 30 -- and expects to pay more than $1 million for the whole program.
The first phase of the program will focus on:
* Barrett Street
* Columbus Avenue
* Dunlap Street
* Franklin Street between Spring Street and Central Avenue
* Magnolia Street
* New Market Drive
The program also will include resurfacing and base repairs at parking lots in East Side and Smith parks.
Columbus-based Strawser Paving Co. offered the lowest bid for the project at $633,005. That number was reduced by more than $50,000 after city officials dropped plans for resurfacing work on Oak Hill Drive and the City Hall parking lot.
Yoakum said the city decided those improvements could wait after all six initial bids came in higher than the $605,000 budget for the first phase.
The second phase of the project is expected to begin in mid-June and run until early August. That phase will consist of work on Cheshire Street, Henry Street and Troy Road.
Yoakum said "internal delays" involving paperwork pushed the street-paving program into early fall last year. He said city officials hope the phased program could help prevent work from extending past summer break this year.
"The goal for this season was to split (the work) so some could get done early," he said.