Traffic passes construction work on Tilton Road in Northfield near Burton Avenue on Friday.

Ben Fogletto

Despite a traffic slowdown resulting from the county’s drainage project on Tilton Road in Northfield, most people in the area say the work is needed.

“It’s a necessary inconvenience,” Lou Marchiano said Friday at the clothing store that bears his name.

Although it seemed like business was picking up last week, this week has brought a slowdown for ACRAT (Atlantic City Records & Tapes) in Northfield, employee Brandon Curtis said.

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Curtis, 22, said business was particularly slow Tuesday, when a utility pole was down along the major thoroughfare that extends into Egg Harbor Township.

“That road needs a lot of work, and I’ll deal with a little bit of inconvenience for it,” Curtis said.

Resident Mike Sacchetti said he avoids the road altogether, using alternate back routes and Route 9 instead.

Giovanni’s Touch of Italy restaurant was particularly inconvenienced when access was partially blocked by construction work at the start of this week, employee Michelle Calta said. That inconvenienced the delivery process as the restaurant’s drivers had to enter through the front door rather than easily loading orders from the back, she said.

“Hopefully it will stop soon,” Calta said.

Many customers have stopped patronizing during the lunch rush because of traffic delays, she said.

“They only have 45 minutes, and it’s harder with the road closed.”

Northfield Engineer Robbie Dollard said multiple projects are going on simultaneously on the road.

The city was charged with displacing its sewer mains to make way for the county’s storm pipe design, he said. That portion of the project began Wednesday and should be complete by the end of next week.

While the sewer project is being completed, the county has shifted its focus to Burton Avenue to avoid conflict with the other projects, said Joe D’Abundo, Atlantic County engineer.

The work is being done mostly during the day because of the proximity of homes, D’Abundo said. Once the drainage work returns to Tilton Road, he said, they can consider doing the work at night. The drainage phase should be complete by the end of November.

Dollard said paving will be the next step, but that also requires shutting down portions of the road as the project nears completion.

D’Abundo said paving likely will not take place until spring — around April — because of the temperatures required to lay asphalt.

“The surfact tempurature of the road has to be 45 degrees,” which doesn’t happen until after March, D’Abundo said.

Between now and then, he said, the sewer project will be completed, along with some gas lines and water mains being moved.

The county is waiting on a $1.5 million award letter for the paving phase of the project. Without the letter, they cannot go out to bid, D’Abundo said.

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