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INDOT presents US 40 proposal

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

(Photo)
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has never been the most popular governmental bureau, but it did not make any more friends Tuesday night at a public hearing on plans for a stretch of United States 40 and State Road 340.

The presentation, which was held at North Clay Middle School, said the project is intended to improve pavement, drainage and safety along US 40 stretching from County Road 225 W to Belle Street, and SR 340 from Waterworks Rd. to the intersection with US 40. The total length of the project is 2.945 miles.

Parts of State Road 59 and several other side streets will be affected. The section of Murphy St. that was redone several years ago will not be worked on.

According to Mary Jackman, the INDOT Public Hearings Examiner, the project will begin in 2011 and cost $27 million dollars.

Portions of US 40 will be reduced to one lane in each direction, without parking, for up to two years. State Road 340 will be blocked off completely from traffic for a portion of time.

Area business owners voiced their concern with the project and the parking restrictions. Restaurateur Rick Bell made a comment about discrepancies in the diagrammed project layout and the presentation.

According to the presentation, US 40 would become four lanes with a median, with no street parking. Diagrams posted in the North Clay Commons Area showed designated parking spots in the lanes nearest the curbs.

Alan Mize, DLZ Indiana, said the four-lane design is included in case there is ever a need to accommodate that level of traffic in downtown Brazil. INDOT hopes to make any needed space now so it may be available in the future.

For business owners on US 40 who do not have additional parking or entrances in the back, the street spots are vital to keeping the stores, restaurants and specialty companies open.

After the meeting, several business owners approached Mize, who had given the presentation on the project, to further explain as to how the project could negatively impact their businesses.

All of the comments and concerns from those attending the meeting will be taken into consideration by INDOT, and used when making final design and traffic maintenance plans.

Sidewalks will be either replaced or installed along the entire project route. The sidewalks will be eight-feet wide plus a two-foot wide strip of grass separating the sidewalk from the road.

New storm drainage will also be installed. The City of Brazil will be held responsible for building a retention pond for the new system to drain into.

The nine traffic signals along US 40 within the construction area, as well as the signal at SR 59 and Jackson St. and SR 59 and Pinkley St., will be modernized and wirelessly interconnected to help control the flow of traffic.

Because Downtown Brazil is considered a Historical District, INDOT and the contractor it hires to complete the work will be required to reuse the current limestone curbing along National Rd., or to replace unusable curbs with new limestone curbing.

Other design concessions needed to be made to keep storefronts at the proper height with the sidewalk.

Some land will need to be acquired by INDOT for the project. Although no one will need to be relocated, .452 acres of commercial land, affecting 13 parcels, will be permanently used in the project.

For temporary "right-of-way" work during the reconstruction of US 40, SR 340 and SR 59, 3.76 acres of land from 183 parcels will be used.

Owners of this land will have their property appraised and be compensated. Driveway and parking lot construction and lawn grading will take up this space.

For those interested in viewing the design for the US 40 project, plans are available in Brazil City Mayor Ann Bradshaw's office in Brazil City Hall until a final design plan is created.

Any questions or official comments for INDOT can be sent to INDOT's Hearing Office at 100 N. Senate Ave., Room N955, Indianapolis, Ind., 46204-2217 or mjackman@indot.in.gov in the next two weeks. Mailed responses must be postmarked by April 29, 2008.


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-- Posted by Civisi on Wed, Apr 16, 2008, at 5:38 AM


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