Fourth Street to remain open for business during work


Business and property owners have been told in detail how the remodeling of Fourth Street between Geiger and Jackson streets will be done.

“Your livelihood depends on what we’re doing here. And we recognize that,” Mayor Denny Spinner told property and business owners attending a Thursday evening meeting at City Hall. “We’re going to try to take into consideration all that we can to get the job done as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

Milestone Contractors of Bloomington will do the construction work, which is due to start in February, in three phases.

Phase 1 will be the east half of Fourth, from Jackson Street to U.S. 231. Phase 2 will be the western half of the street, from Geiger Street to U.S. 231. Phase 3, which is work on the street’s intersection with U.S. 231, will be done in conjunction with the first two phases.

In each phase, work on the trench drain in the middle of the street will be done first, said Brent Foster of Milestone, who is manager of the project. After that, the parking and drive lanes will be under construction. When that is done, work will be done on the intersection while sidewalk work is done, first on one side of the street, then the other side, Foster explained.

Once complete, Fourth Street’s new design will include having on each side a driving lane and sidewalk; a lane situated between the two would be used optionally as a walking lane, parking area or space for outdoor uses by a business, like seating. Trees and planters would be placed in what is now the parking lane, leaving about three parking spaces between the planters. Businesses would 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.

Per Milestone’s contract with the city, work must stop and the construction must be closed up, cleared and out of the way for the Huntingburg Christmas Stroll, which is held in early November. And all construction work must be completed by May 2020.

Phases 1 and 2 are expected to take six to eight months to complete, said Nick Jahn of Indianapolis-based VS Engineering. Since the first phase is starting in the winter, the length of time for its completion could be affected by the weather, he said. U.S. 231 in the area will be down to one lane for the duration of the project’s construction, he said.

During the construction phase, the particular section of the street being worked on will be closed to vehicular traffic. But pedestrian traffic will be encouraged and welcomed.

“We want to get the word out that Fourth Street is open for business,” said Ron Taylor of Indianapolis-based Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group.

Signs, parking maps, FAQ sheets and letters for delivery trucks are currently being created. They will be given out and emailed to property owners, Taylor said. They will also be made available for download from the City of Huntingburg’s website.

Arrangements are being made for parking off site. Signs directing people to that parking will be placed along the street, as well as signs directing people around the construction and to businesses, Taylor said.

Owners will get a weekly email, updating them on what is happening with the construction and what the contractor expects the upcoming construction will be for that week. Representatives will have office hours at Current Blend on the first Wednesday of each month; currently, open hours will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but appointments can also be arranged, Taylor said.

Mark Marshall of VS Engineering will also be constantly on site and available to owners. His job as the on-site representative is to be a liaison between the owners and contractors in communicating information. His contact information was given to the owners Thursday evening, and will be sent via email, Taylor said.

Another two meetings will be held in the evening: one after Phase 1 is completed, and a second meeting after all phases are complete.

Preparation work is currently underway. Trees and streetlights have been removed from Fourth between U.S. 231 and Jackson Street, and temporary lights have been placed off site, to shine on the area. Barrels will be placed soon. And next week, a representative of Milestone will be recording the current condition of the street. The videographer will ask owners’ permission to videotape inside their properties, Jahn said.

“It’s your choice whether or not you allow them to enter,” he said. “But we’d certainly appreciate the cooperation there [in case] there is an issue that was caused during construction. It protects everyone involved.”

Business owners were asked to make sure organizers have their correct email addresses and phone numbers “so as we communicate throughout the project, we have your latest information,” Jahn said. The business owners were also asked to spread the word to property owners who were not at Thursday meeting to get that contact information to the city.

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