4th Street work takes shape, stays on schedule

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — The Fourth Street Heritage Trail redesign work is on schedule.

Work crews are due to move to the west end of the project, from U.S. 231 to Geiger Street, this month or next, though a firm date for that is not yet known, said Rachel Steckler, Huntingburg’s director of community development.

“Hopefully, we’ll know more about that at the meeting (Thursday),” she said.

That meeting, with business and property owners, will start at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 508 E. Fourth St.

Since crews with Milestone Contractors started working on the east end of the project, from U.S. 231 to Jackson Street, in January, notable changes can be seen close to U.S. 231 that give a glimpse at to what the street will ultimately look like.

Pavers have been installed on the north side of the street and on a portion of the south side. All the planter boxes and trench drains have been installed, and the subgrade for the driving lanes is being laid.

At the intersection of Jackson and Fourth Streets, crosswalks and ADA-accessible ramps have been installed and concrete is being poured at the intersection.

Two of the new black traffic signal poles and some pavers have been installed at U.S.. 231 and Fourth Street. At some point there will be a two-week window in which U.S. 231 will be down to one lane while work is done on each lane, the crosswalks and traffic signals at the intersection.

“You’ll have a portable stoplight that will control traffic through that area,” City Planning Director Paul Lake said.

The timing for that will be determined by the Indiana Department of Transportation, and Milestone is going to coincide that work with its move from the east to the west side of Fourth Street, Steckler said.

Not only has Milestone been able to work around inclement weather and stay on its timeline, workers have been very friendly to people who stop by. They don’t mind talking about the work they are doing, and they give out small work helmets to kids. Workers have also helped with other tasks that have nothing to do with the street work.

“They have helped moved refrigerators out of upstairs apartments for people,” Steckler said. “They truly are going above and beyond.”

“I’ve watched them move an entire living room suit,” Lake added, “load it all on their trailer and cart it to someplace for somebody on their lunch hour. You don’t usually see that personal touch.”

Thursday’s meeting will include updated information for the business and property owners, a status update of the overall project and discussion about some possible ordinance changes as they pertain to utilizing the new street design.

“We are looking at our ordinances to see what revisions need to be made in order to accommodate this new design,” Steckler said. “When the street is complete, the biggest adjustment people will have to make is the speed at which they drive on the street. The drive lanes will be more narrow. People will have to drive slower.”

“How we use the street needs to be done a little bit differently,“ Lake said.

Once complete, Fourth Street will have on each side a driving lane and sidewalk; a lane situated between the two will be used optionally as a walking lane, parking area or space for outdoor uses by a business, like seating. Trees and planters will be placed in what is now the parking lane, leaving about three parking spaces between the planters. Businesses will have the option of using part of the sidewalk or the parking lane in front of their business for enhancements like seating.

The design incorporates part of the Heritage Trail, which is a walking and bicycle path that will ultimately connect the north and south ends of the city.




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