U.S. 231 repaving in Jasper pushed to spring

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER – Drivers awaiting the repaving of U.S. 231 through Jasper will have to wait longer than city officials had hoped for a new surface to be applied to a stretch of the heavily-traveled road.

According to a tentative schedule shared by City Engineer Chad Hurm, crews contracted by the Indiana Department of Transportation aren’t slated to mill and recoat Jasper’s main vein from 37th Street to the south until spring 2020.

It was previously believed the repaving could start sooner, but due to the scope of the overall project and its timing, the resurfacing won’t begin until next year.

“Originally, when we had planned all of our timing on the waterline project, we were doing ours in hopes that we were gonna have everything finished up, and then INDOT was gonna follow up shortly after that with their project,” Hurm said at last week’s Jasper Common Council meeting, referencing the city waterline replacement project that included slicing open parts of Newton Street and Sixth Street over the last eight months. “But I think theirs got delayed a little bit and because of the timing and everything, the paving has been pushed back to next spring.”

INDOT’s project was completely designed and bid out by the state agency and will include more improvements than just the resurfacing of U.S. 231. That work will begin in the city in the near future, but the resurfacing will mark the final phase of a nearly yearlong endeavor.

From late July through the end of September, crews will create a turning lane and widen the intersection of State Road 56 and Kluemper Road. Road patching will then take place on Sixth Street and Newton Street from late September through the end of November.

“They’ll be digging out all the failed spots, the areas that are settling and breaking up real bad,” Hurm said in a follow-up phone interview. “They’ll go through and they’ll patch all those bad spots in the road at that time.”

Curb work, traffic-signal work, and storm-sewer repairs to those two streets will follow during the winter months.

The milling and paving portion of the project will span from the intersection of Newton Street and 37th Street to the intersection of Sixth Street and Bartley Street. It will begin after the asphalt plants open in April and the paving will end in May.

“Unfortunately, you can’t pave asphalt in the middle of the winter because it’s too cold,” Hurm said. “So, plants shut down, and then you’ve gotta wait until they reopen. So, that’s part of the issue, too.”

With work on the city’s waterline replacement nearing its end, crews are now shifting their focus to cleaning up some of the rough asphalt and patching holes that were dug as part of the project.

Jasper Councilman Phil Mundy said at last week’s council meeting that a lot of people were probably under the expectation that as soon as the waterline project is completed, “state trucks were idling right behind it.”

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

The milling and paving currently taking place on U.S. 231 to the north, around the Haysville area, will end at 37th Street in Jasper. Hurm said that separate contract was originally supposed to wrap up by the end of the month, but he wasn’t sure if that is still the case due to the consistent rain that has fallen in the area lately.

Though he didn’t know the detailed schedule of the upcoming Jasper work, Jason Tiller, INDOT’s Southwest Indiana communications director, explained that while House Bill 1002 has helped fund INDOT projects, it has also created a unique problem.

There’s a lot of work to be done, he said, and contractors are very overloaded. Many are being given “pretty substantial amounts of time to get projects finished,” Tiller said.

The segment of U.S. 231 currently being repaved between Loogootee and Jasper, for example, was bid out in spring 2018, and work didn’t begin until this year.




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