Eighteen seems to be the magic number for the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Seymour District. Leaders there oversee road and bridge work in 18 counties and narrow down a wish list into concrete plans with an 18-month letting timetable.
The counties (Ripley, Franklin, Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Dearborn, Decatur, Floyd, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Monroe, Ohio, Scott, Switzerland and Washington) are grouped into five subdistricts in Aurora, Bloomington, Columbus, Falls City and Madison.
The numbers are staggering: “The Seymour District is responsible for maintaining 4,675 lane miles of state roads, 755 lane miles of interstate, 1,910 large culverts, 943 state bridges, 163 snow routes, 355 traffic signals, 187 flashers, 52,094 road signs and 1,424 panel signs,” according to the Web site www.in.gov/indot.
Now that work to replace a State Road 229 bridge deck overlay across Laughery Creek south of Ballstown has temporarily closed that road section, officials are finishing preliminary work and getting ready to award bids on 12 projects in Ripley and Franklin counties.
Harry Maginity, Seymour District public information director, notes that the letting list is rather fluid. “It can be pushed back a month or two months.” Money for a planned project can even be re-prioritized for emergency work. “Nothing is really written in stone until you actually do a letting. Then you’ve got a contract.”
In chronological order by county, here’s what area residents are in for in the near future:
u U.S. 421 between County Road 300 North to Jac-Cen-Del School Drive in Osgood will get a hot mix asphalt overlay for preventive maintenance, letting date July 10. The 1.9-mile surface treatment is better than the chip and seal technique, he says. “It doesn’t add much structure, but it will seal the road” for an average of 7,000 daily vehicles. The projected $300,000 work will be completed “pretty fast. It’s a little inconvenient when it’s happening, but it won’t take very long.”
u State Road 350 from U.S. 421 to Hillcrest Drive in Osgood also will be paved with a hot mix asphalt overlay over .62 mile. The work was authorized in 2009, then delayed until a May 7, 2014, letting date, but will occur in tandem with the above project to save money.
u The I-74 westbound rest area near Batesville will be improved with the installation of an 18-inch pipe to better drainage, then landscaping, letting date July 10. The job, estimated at over $200,000, should be completed by Sept. 27, according to the director.
u State Road 46 from State Road 229 west to the Batesville Corp. line will be paved with HMA over its 2.8 miles, letting date Aug. 7. The average daily traffic count there is over 10,000. Maginity notes, “September and October are good months to pave, although your weather starts to break up a little bit. That’s a pretty good-sized project,” estimated to cost around $750,000.
u The State Road 48 bridge deck over Ripley Creek between state roads 101 and 129 will get a fresh overlay, letting date Aug. 7. Although a 2001 figure showed less than 1,000 vehicles crossed it daily, money is coming from the district’s discretionary fund “because this work is needed.”
u The installation of a new precast box culvert bridge on State Road 229 just south of State Road 46 in Batesville has been pushed back, letting date April 2, 2014. Maginity points out, “There are right of way issues.” Over 12,000 daily vehicles may have to find detours for all or part of the possibly three-month project.
u A Sunman bike and pedestrian trail will be created along Eastern Avenue to State Road 101, winding up at Sunman Elementary School, letting date July 9, 2014. The town is contributing 20 percent of the roughly $100,000 cost with the Federal Highway Administration funding the rest of the safety project. The design’s first stage has been completed, he says.
u Four small structures on U.S. 52 – two east of Metamora and two east of its intersection with State Road 1 near Brookville – will be replaced, letting dates July 9, 2014. Maginity defined small structures as “anything from a drainage pipe to a culvert to a bridge.”
• The deck and rails of a State Road 1 bridge over Ramsey Creek west of Cedar Grove will be completely replaced, letting date Dec. 10, 2014. When asked about whether the road would be closed, the director replied, “You can close one lane and build it half at a time. Obviously, if you close the whole thing down, it gets built a lot faster.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.