City looks into First Street repair workAugust 12, 2019
By CANDY NEAL
HUNTINGBURG — A most western part of First Street in Huntingburg is in dire need of repairs.
The condition of the street that runs west from Sycamore Street to the city’s limit is pretty bad, said Huntingburg Street Superintendent Jason Stamm.
“It’s a big safety hazard,” he said.
The drainage system along the road is one of the main concerns, Stamm explained.
“On one side, there’s no ditch. On the other side, the ditch is right at the edge of the road; part of the asphalt is falling in the ditch,” he said. “If you get one tire getting close to getting off the edge of the asphalt, you’re in the ditch. And the ditch is about two feet deep.”
The road’s asphalt is not in good condition either.
“But we would do it an injustice if we went in there and just paved it,” Stamm said. “It would ride a lot better, but it wouldn’t solve any of the safety issues.”
The street was a state highway decades ago. When State Road 64 was built, the street became a county road — called Old Road 64. When the city eventually annexed some of the area, the portion of Old Road 64 that was east of the new city limit was turned over to Huntingburg.
The road is used a lot, not only by people who live on the street, but also by motorists traveling west to reach the Holland area and southwest section of the county, Stamm said.
“We’re looking to solve the drainage issues first,” he said, “with some underground piping, and whatever else we can do to solve that issue.”
Currently, representatives of engineering firm Clark Dietz are doing exploratory and surveying work. Huntingburg has a service agreement with the company to gather information and help the city find solutions to the problem.
Ultimately, Stamm is looking to apply for federal funding to fix the street. He isn’t sure how much it will cost to fix the road, but he knows it will be expensive.
“There is no way I can do it with my regular street department budget,” he said. “Even if I could save money for 10 years and not do any other road work for 10 years, I don’t think it would be enough.”
If Stamm had to use funds from the street department’s budget to make the needed repairs, the work would have to be done in phases, “and it would take a lot of phases,” he said. “The problem is that it can’t wait that long.”
“The only way the City of Huntingburg can get that project done is through the state being involved with federal money,” he said.
The city and Clark Dietz are also considering some possible temporary repairs.
“We are looking at trying to go in there and do some temporary fixes to make is safer until we can get it permanently done,” Stamm said. “Anytime you apply for a federal-funded project through the state, it takes years for that thing to get to the point that it actually happens. And we don’t have that much time. So we’re going to look at several different options.”
The road is not going to be fixed quickly, Stamm reiterated.
“It’s a long, drawn-out process,” he said. “But at least we’re starting on it.”
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