After busy summer, some street work still ongoingSeptember 17, 2019
By ALLEN LAMAN
Construction crews, cones and lines of heavy equipment have filled roadways throughout Dubois County in the past few months. As a busy summer of street work comes to an end, The Herald spoke with representatives from local cities and towns for an update on work that is finished and still ongoing.
Closures and lane restrictions on Newton Street near St. Joseph Catholic Church for storm sewer repairs have clogged one of Jasper’s main veins for weeks. That project is nearing completion, though, and the barricades that have lined the road will be removed once paving wraps up later this week.
A Community Crossings grant project that will bring a new asphalt surface to the now-closed 12th Avenue is slated to wrap up toward the end of October. A trail expansion project will continue to bring lane restrictions around the city for another month or so.
Mill Street near its intersection with Third Avenue reopened on Friday in a limited fashion. The section of the road near the site of the future Thyen-Clark Cultural Center will continue to operate as a one-lane street until construction on that new building is complete, which is expected to be in late 2020.
The Indiana Department of Transportation is also creating a turn lane and widening the intersection of State Road 56 and Kluemper Road.
“The latest update on 56 and Kluemper Road that I have is that we had been waiting on utility lines to be moved before we could begin some of the work in that area,” said Jason Tiller, INDOT district communications director. “We’re widening and adding turn lanes there so there were a significant amount of utilities that needed to be moved. Work should be going on now.”
Lane restrictions will also continue with the sidewalk enhancements being made on Sixth Street. That work will snake to Newton Street, between Sixth Street to Tenth Street, in the coming weeks.
As for the repaving on U.S. 231 between Loogootee and Jasper, that project is also nearing completion, and the striping should be down or be going down any day now, Tiller said.
“Really all that’s left on that particular project is the smaller incidentals to tie up any loose ends and the inspection,” Tiller said of that project.
Many streets around Jasper have also been milled and resurfaced or otherwise enhanced by the Jasper Street Department this summer.
“I don’t remember a summer we’ve had this many street closures and lane restrictions and all that at the same time,” said Jasper City Engineer Chad Hurm. “Definitely been busy.”
In Huntingburg, another Community Crossings grant project will soon begin, and the reworking of Fourth Street downtown is on pace to wrap up before the 2019 Christmas Stroll in November.
Work on Third Street from Walnut Street to Chestnut Street will start later this month.
“That was our big project,” said Street Superintendent Jason Stamm. “That one’s basically — they’re tearing the whole road out.”
After removing the concrete street, crews will lay asphalt. Other paving projects will also take place on Chestnut Street from 12th Street to 14th Street, and miscellaneous work has also taken place on roads across the city, and four ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act have been installed at the corner of Walnut and Third streets.
“With the move from the old street department to the new one this year, that kind of took up a lot of our time and things like that,” Stamm said. “But we didn’t want to shortchange any of the projects that we’re doing out in the public, either. So, we’ve been trying to keep up with those and do as many of those as we can.”
Ferdinand’s big summer road project was born from a partnership between the town and Dubois County. The two entities collaborated to repave the Industrial Bypass that sneaks around the town.
In the near future, 21st Street and 20th Street will both be milled and repaved from Northview Drive to Vienna Drive, as will Krampe Drive between 20th Street and 22nd Street. That bundle of work — which consists of the last of the town’s 2019 Community Crossings grant projects — will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
“We were gonna do it next week,” Tom Lueken, Ferdinand’s street superintendent and property manager, said on Friday. “But the Folk Fest is there and we didn’t want to have it torn up during that.”
The roads won’t be “totally shut down,” Lueken said. Instead, lane restrictions will be in place at times.
Side ditches have been redone on Scenic Hills Industrial Drive and the road itself will be reconstructed from West Third Street to Industrial Park Road.
Dubois County Highway Department
According to County Highway Supervisor Steve Berg, most of what remains on the county’s summer roads plate are asphalt overlay projects. Berg estimated that work is “a little more than halfway complete.”
“We’re hoping that the contractors get on us next week and get started,” Berg said on Friday. “Because I believe it’s in their contracts that by the end of September, they should be done.”
Outside of that, road striping and laying shoulder stone will also be completed in the near future. Storm damage damaged some road shoulders that will be repaired. The wet season has also caused many weeds to sprout up near roads, and Berg said his crew is out mowing the 662 miles of roadways scattered across Dubois County.
A big-ticket item that was completed by the county this summer includes a bank slide project on St. Anthony Road West — crews dug between 13 and 15 feet into the earth for a stretch of several hundred feet to backfill it and lay drainage pipe — and after winter settling, it will be blacktopped in 2020.
Berg said the county changes culverts in the fall and also does prep work for future road projects.
“I’m in the process now of running pacers,” he said. “I grade our road surfaces throughout the summer and into fall, so we have an idea of what our next year’s work schedule and paving schedule is gonna be. Once I’ve got that list made up, then we know what roads that we want to target or focus on as far as any rehab or repaving work.”
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