The often-delayed and constantly called for repaving of Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City’s most notoriously pitted pathway, began again Wednesday.
“Is this real life?” said Brian Garcia, feigning disbelief when he heard the news.
A bartender who lives in Union County, Garcia said he visits the resort two to three times a month.
“Imagine a smooth ride from one business to another,” he said, “and not having your fillings rattled out!”
“Paving this street is more than a jitney issue,” said jitney driver Frank Becktel, a motorist intimately familiar with the road’s condition. “This is about basic infrastructure maintenance that every city must do.”
Workers started milling the south side of Pacific between Hartford and Morris Avenues on Wednesday morning. Weather-permitting, milling will proceed today between Indiana and North Carolina avenues, followed Friday by paving between Hartford and Morris.
The repaving is the last stage of a $6.4 million Pacific Avenue improvement project paid for by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Earlier work included the installation of new streetlights and changes to curbs that made them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the CRDA.
L. Feriozzi Concrete Company, headquartered in Atlantic City, and A.E. Stone, based in Egg Harbor Township, received contracts for the project’s current phase.
Once completed, Pacific Avenue will have been resurfaced between Hartford and Missouri avenues, and from Indiana to Connecticut Avenue, according to Elaine Zamansky, a CRDA spokeswoman. The strip of street between Missouri and Indiana avenues was previously repaved by the city, she said.
The work started again Wednesday originally began last June and was intended to be completed by the end of 2014. However, delays, followed by cold temperatures, pushed it backed to this spring.
Zamansky said the street will be repaved by Memorial Day, if not sooner.
Mayor Don Guardian has said more streets have been paved in Atlantic City since the beginning of 2014 than during the previous 10 years combined.
“The condition of that road was giving a bad impression of a tourist destination,” Garcia said, “beating up cars and public transportation.”
“It’s going to make the customers a lot happier,” veteran jitney driver Ed Fitzgerald said Wednesday. “It’s going to make the drivers a lot happier.”
“Whatever they’re doing on the road, they’re doing good,” said Khan Niazi, a manager at the Babajan Market at the intersection of Chelsea and Pacific Avenues.
“But it’s a little bit late,” he added, an expression of the special skepticism commonly reserved for the route.
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