U.S. 231 waterline work ahead of schedule

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER — Work is moving along slightly ahead of schedule on the Jasper waterline project that is currently affecting traffic near the city’s downtown.

Cones and construction equipment line stretches of Sixth Street and Newton Street as the city’s ongoing water supply and pressure improvement project chugs forward. A representative from Ragle Inc. of Newburgh, the contractor completing the work, said at a Monday Utility Service Board meeting that the opening leg of the project — on Sixth Street from Bartley Street to Clay Street — is “pretty much wrapped up.”

Workers will reopen all lanes of traffic before Wednesday evening, which is about a week before it was originally slated to be finalized.

“Everything seems to be going alright right now,” said Luke Rohleder, the project superintendent. General Utilities Manager Bud Hauersperger said there could be isolated areas that require curb work and the like, but the bulk of the stretch will be completely open by Thanksgiving.

Similar work has already begun on Newton Street from Second Street northward. Rohleder said the plan is to work on that area and repave up to Seventh Street by Christmas. Intersections and the blocks between Clay Street and Newton Street along that stretch will be closed depending on where work is taking place, varying day to day.

Rohleder estimated Sixth Street between Newton Street and the downtown Square will close around Monday, Dec. 3, for about two days. Traffic between Fifth Street and Seventh Street on Newton Street will also shift to the west side of Newton in the coming weeks, and Rohleder hopes work on that stretch will be completed around Monday, Dec. 10.

Hauersperger is pleased with the quick pace of the project, but still encouraged drivers to avoid the area during high-traffic times, if possible. He advocated for the importance of patience and said the city and contractor are both putting a lot of effort into lessening congestion as much as possible.

“There’s just gonna be traffic considerations that people are gonna have to be aware of,” he said. “Their routes may change, so maybe take a little more time. It’s not gonna be a straight shot, especially during busy times when people get off work, rush hour times.”

Work will eventually continue north on Newton Street to 15th Street, and the final phase of the project will run on Newton Street from Matthew Avenue — which is located near the city’s water tower — to Lottes Drive, near 30th Street. The project will ultimately replace approximately 13,000 linear feet of waterlines that are, on average, 80 years old.

The waterline project work is expected to end in July 2019. Total, it will cost $4,629,745 and will be paid for with a $1.38 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant and city utility funds.

An in-depth project map can be found on the main page of the City of Jasper’s website, underneath the Recent News heading. It includes detailed information, including section breakdowns highlighting lane closures that will take place during the project and cross streets that will be affected by the work.

In 2019, the Indiana Department of Transportation will begin their own project, consisting of the milling and resurfacing of U.S. 231.




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