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INDOT makes SR 59 proposal

Thursday, October 4, 2007

CLAY CITY -- Officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and GAI Consultants, Inc., paid a visit to Clay City Wednesday for a public hearing regarding proposed improvements to State Road 59.

The residents that attended the meeting, which took place at the Clay City Junior/Senior High School Auditeria, listened to a 30-minute discussion regarding the proposal, which calls for improvements to SR 59 just south of the intersection with SR 157 and Ninth Street to just north of First Street in the town.

The total project length is just less than one mile.

"It's to improve your future transportation needs," INDOT Hearings Examiner Mary Jackman told the audience.

Jackman said the estimated cost for the project is $5 million, which is all money earmarked for 2009.

She said the estimated cost includes preliminary engineering, right-of-ways and construction, which is scheduled to begin in 2009.

Jackman told those in attendance that some land acquisition from residents would be necessary and that no relocations were anticipated. She added that 80 percent of the project is funded by federal money, with the remaining 20 percent coming from the state. GAI Consultants, Inc., representative Scott Allen described the project to the audience Wednesday, stating it would be divided into five phases. He said several road problems would be corrected through the project, including:

* Extending road lanes,

* Fixing curbs and road gutters in the downtown area,

* Fixing sidewalks along the roadway, and

* Repairing drainage along the road.

Allen said the project will provide two 12-foot travel lanes and two 10-foot parking lanes along SR 59. Curbs and gutters will be constructed on both sides of the road as well.

In addition, he said the current horizontal curve at the intersection of SR 157 and Ninth Street would be removed and treated as an intersection with a three-way stop, as southbound traffic would be free-flowing.

He said the project called for roads to be lower than resident's property in order to create better drainage flow and prevent runoff into yards. Allen added that Ninth Street would be reconstructed for a length of 900-feet as part of a storm sewer outfall construction.

There are several historical sites in downtown Clay City, but Allen said they would not be affected by the construction.

He estimated the construction cost at $2,995,000 and INDOT Public Information Officer Debbie Calder said it would take possibly two construction seasons to finish.

"We still have right-of-ways to purchase and utilities to relocate," Calder said.

Jackman said the proposal has been in the works since 1998.

"We determined there was a need," she said. "A lot of thought has gone into this."

The project is part of Gov. Mitch Daniels' Major Moves proposition.

Clay County Commissioner Paul Sinders attended the meeting and said he believed it was time for improvements for the road.

"I wish it would have happened five years ago," Sinders said. "I see nothing but good and positive things coming out of this.

"I personally think it will be a terrific upgrade for downtown Clay City. But I think the major thing we're going to have to do during this time period is be patient."

Jackman gave residents in attendance an opportunity to speak following the presentation, but no one took advantage. However, she left each resident with the opportunity to present her comments by mail or e-mail (mjackman@indot.in.gov) by Oct. 17, 2007.

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