GREENFIELD — Motorists will see more roadwork than usual throughout Greenfield this summer.
A boost in street maintenance funding from the state Legislature in addition to special projects will make for plenty of construction barrels, hot asphalt and traffic detours.
The Potts Ditch relocation project will mean road cuts in the downtown district starting this summer and continuing through next year. The Franklin Street widening project is expected to break ground in September, and the city will also resurface 1½ more miles of streets this year than last year because of a change in how local departments are funded.
“It is going to be a busy year, and our goal is to expedite the traffic in the safest and most prudent manner we possibly can,” Mayor Chuck Fewell said.
Fewell has a unique perspective on this summer’s road maintenance projects. Before he became mayor in late December, Fewell lobbied for a boost in funding at the Indiana Statehouse in 2013 for local units of government as an employee of Milestone Contractors.
Now, he’s seeing the benefits of the statewide change from the perspective of the city’s top official.
“I feel confident we’ll stay at the level for a while where we’re at,” Fewell said.
While for years some of the state’s fuel tax money had been used to fund the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana State Police, the Legislature decided to put some of that money back into the hands of local government.
Greenfield got a boost of about $187,000 this year because of the legislature’s change in funding, said street commissioner Jim Hahn, and the city will see another additional $197,000 next year. That’s about $500,000 a year that can be spent on maintaining Greenfield’s streets, he said.
“That’s like what we used to do,” he said. “For years, we were doing a half million (in) projects. Then, all of a sudden, we were lucky enough to get $300,000.”
The two largest resurfacing projects will be on New Road from Ind. 9 to Apple Street and McKenzie Road from Broadway Street to Swope Street. The streets will be milled down and then resurfaced with a new layer of asphalt.
Smaller projects will be on Meridian Road just south of New Road and Davis Road from Morristown Pike to the entrance of Brandywine Park. A cluster of west-central neighborhood streets will also get repaired, including Fifth Street between Indiana and School streets; Sixth Street between Wilson and Indiana streets; and School Street between Indiana and School streets.
The streets were chosen based on traffic counts and condition. Fewell said city streets needed some added attention because of the harsh winter and several years of relatively less attention because of low funding.
The timeline for projects to begin is still uncertain; the city will soon take bids from contractors for the work.
Also tentative is when ground will be broken on the $10 million Potts Ditch relocation project.
Potts Ditch, a watershed that runs underground in downtown Greenfield, is getting rerouted throughout the district, and a new, larger concrete box culvert is being installed. The work will affect Fourth, Grant, East, North, Spring and South streets, as well as intersections at Ind. 9 and U.S. 40.
Mike Fruth, director of utilities, said the project could begin in late June, but which streets are affected first depends on discussions with the contractor, which has yet to be selected. Work will continue through fall 2015.
“It will be a wide variety of activity,” Fruth said. “We are proposing to have a neighborhood meeting, where we will have some drawings and representatives from the contractor and engineer. We will be there to speak with residents about the project and answer some questions.”
Meanwhile, utilities are being relocated for another street project that’s been in the works for years. Franklin Street will be widened south of U.S. 40 to Davis Road. That is also a project that will span through 2015, and the start of construction has been delayed to this September because of a paperwork tie-up with the Indiana Department of Transportation, Fruth said.
The street, used heavily by industrial traffic, will be widened to three lanes from U.S. 40 to Tague Street, and the two existing lanes will be widened from Tague Street to Davis Road.
Fruth said the project will be done in phases, but the street will be open to traffic throughout the duration of the project.
“They’ll work on one side of the street, shift to the other side and work on the center,” he said.