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Lewes, Delaware
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October 10, 1997     Cape Gazette
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October 10, 1997
 

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, October 10 - October 16, 1997 - 17 Truck traffic controversy rolls back into Milton By Rosanne Pack Ruth Post had her ceiling drop for the fifth time last week, and she wants to know how many more times she will have to have the plaster replaced before the lit- Infrastructure, inspections on Milton agenda By Rosanne Pack Work is underway on new water mains in Milton, and the good news is that the new lines will not result in old customers losing wa- ter service. The new lines will serve some new customers and a housing complex to be built on the south side of Route 16 near the intersec- tion with Palmer Street. Existing customers will receive new later- als and hook-ups in the bargain. New pipe is being placed from the water tower along Behringer Av- enue, across Bay Avenue and out Palmer where it will cross Route 16. Some confusion arose at the Oct. 6 council meeting regarding who was responsible for hooking up previous customers to the new line, but it was resolved as the city accepted responsibility. A private contractor, Willow Oak Inc., is laying the new pipe for the water main, much of it along the route of old line. The town maintenance department will dig new laterals for existing customers, replac e old contacts on the curb boxes and change the hook-ups from the old line to the new one. It was determined that the town rather than existing cus- tomers should pay for the hook-up to the new line. Council members also voted to apply for Community Develop- ment Block Grant (CDBG) funds to replace aging water lines along Broad Street. Funds have already been secured for repaving the street; however, to avoid digging up the street twice, town officials had agreed to postpone resurfac- ing until the water line could be replaced. Bushey said that appli- cations will be taken soon for county block grants, and council members approved preparing an application. A public hearing on the request is scheduled for the council meeting on Nov. 3, 8 p.m. Milton recently hired a part- time building code inspector, Kathy Thumel, whose job with the town begins Wednesday, Oct. 15. The mayor said that filling the position will make progress possi- ble on reviewing the rental prop- erties at 116 Collins St. Residents in the area have registered com- plaints regarding possible illegal drug activity, health code viola- tions and noise and loitering prob- lems. Milton officials will hold a joint inspection with the building code inspector and health and fire Code officials, tie Town of Milton gets relief from large commercial trucks that travel the main street of town. She has the support of many other town residents in believing that heavy truck traffic is respon- sible for her five ceilings ending up on the floor. Several of those who live along Union and Federal streets attended the Oct. 6 town council meeting to voice their concerns and complaints regard- ing what they perceive as noise and vibration problems caused by commercial truck traffic that pass- es through Milton on a daily basis. Noreen Broadhurst said, "I can't sit in my living room with the windows open and carry on a conversation. Trucks are speeding through, there is noise; my whole house shakes. "I can't let my children play outside in front of my house be- cause these trucks are exceeding the speed limit and an 18-wheeler would not be able to stop in time if a child strayed into the road." Sandy and Michael Dominguez have a home and a business on the main thoroughfare through Mil- ton. They say that they hear and feel each passing truck. Truck traffic through Milton is not a new issue. It has come up with regularity through the years, and many share Post's feelings as she waits for the contractor to sweep up the remains of the last ceiling to fall and to plaster up a new one. "I am sick and tired of this," she said. "What do you do? I was awakened by a truck at 2 a.m. the other night, and between 2 and 7:30 a.m., I counted seven trucks passing; each one shook my house." Council members heard and sympathized. Many of them also live along or within hearing and tremor distance of Union and Fed- eral streets. However, what town council thinks or decrees is not the determining factor of what rolls along the main street of Milton. Union and Federal streets are al- so Delaware Route 5, a state- owned and maintained road. Mil- ton cannot restrict the traffic that follows the route even though it winds between historic houses and buildings that predate vehicu- lar traffic. Mayor Jack Bushey said the town controls the speed limit, but cannot pass any laws that would restrict traffic to cars only. He agreed that the speed laws can be strictly enforced. Since the Mon- day night meeting, Chief of Police Donald Mills has been instructed to have Milton officers do so. Speaking at the council meet- ing, Bushey said, "We have to be persistent. We have to keep work- ing on the department of trans- portation to help us with an alter- nate route. Other communities have done it, but you have to have an alternate route for truck traffic. "We have some local compa- nies that do a lot of trucking, and they are a big part of our econo- my. We want to work with them." The mayor asked residents Broadhurst, Don Post and Jeff Hitchens and Leah Betts and Robert Blayney, town council members, to serve on a committee that will investigate Milton's op- tions in dealing with the truck traffic issue. That committee will meet Monday, Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m., in town hall. Alan Davis, Delaware Depart- ment of Transportation (DelDOT) spokesman, said that Bushey's in- terpretation regarding jurisdiction over Route 5 is correct. He said that DelDOT cannot restrict the state road to local-delivery-only truck traffic either, unless there is an adequate alternate route. "We would have to have a road that puts trucks around Milton and brings them out within a reason- able distance of their destination," he said. The department conducted a study of truck traffic through and around Milton in November 1995. Davis said that the study led to several actions to improve Route 30 and make it a more viable alter- nate truck route. 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