Railroad overpass expected to open in November

Photos courtesy City of Huntingburg
Huntingburg city officials are planning a Nov. 1 opening of the new railroad overpass on the city's west side.

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com 

HUNTINGBURG — Construction work to strengthen 14th Street is scheduled to be done prior to the Nov. 1 opening of the new railroad overpass.

Officials anticipate 14th Street being used by drivers who use the new railroad overpass to avoid U.S. 231 if there is a train on the track. The overpass will go over the railroad tracks near 12th Street just east of the Industrial Park and have on its east side a walking path that will be part of the city’s Heritage Trail walking trail.

In July, the Huntingburg Board of Public Works approved a $311,327 bid from Knies Construction to reconstruct the intersection of 14th and Chestnut streets. That bid also included a separate bid of $120,145 for milling and paving the street. The board approved the cost to reconstruct the intersection and put the street paving work on hold until Street Superintendent Jason Stamm checked to see if the city’s annual contractor could do the project at a lower cost.

Since then, the street paving bid’s original amount has been reduced. The street department will provide barricades and signs, and Knies reduced its costs for maintaining traffic during the construction, Stamm explained to the Huntingburg Board of Public Works Thursday.

The project will be submitted for the state’s Community Crossings grant program, he said. If approved, the state would reimburse the city for 75 percent of the project’s cost.

The board approved Knies’ new $112,687 bid for the street work.

The overpass will address one of the biggest problems people driving through Huntingburg face: the railroad that runs through the middle of the city. When a train comes through, traffic on the streets that the tracks cross must wait until the train passes.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is covering 80 percent of the overpass project’s $5.9 million cost; of the 20 percent left, Dubois County is covering 10 percent, up to $1 million; the city is covering the other 10 percent. Construction on the overpass started in April 2017.

Board member Roger Cox asked what happens if a driver has already passed the warning light that has been installed on U.S. 231 north of 14th St. When the railroad track’s arm is down, the sign will continuously flash to let drivers know that a train is across the tracks and blocking the road.

Stamm said that if a person is already past the warning light, that driver will likely get caught by the train. He originally wanted to put sensors at the railroad’s intersections with County Road 400 and Washington Street, but railroad officials would not allow it, he said.

The start date on the 14th Street project has not yet been set, Stamm said this morning. But it will be done by the time the overpass opens, he said.

Another road project, rebuilding 12th Street from Chestnut to U.S. 231, will start next week. The road’s concrete will be torn out, a sub-grade treatment and stone will be laid and the road will be covered with blacktop. Residents on the street have already been notified that they will have to park in the MasterBrand Cabinets parking lot during construction. The IGA grocery store will still have access to its lot, Stamm said.

This project is being funded with 2017 Community Crossings grant money and should be completed in about a month, Stamm said.




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