ROADS 101: McCordsville staff shares road project updates, funding and more

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McCORDSVILLE — An informative presentation about town roads, projects and more has been shared with the public on McCordsville’s YouTube channel.

Created by McCordsville’s town engineer, Mark Witsman, the Roads 101 presentation shared information originally discussed at the Jan. 27 McCordsville Town Council Retreat. The Roads 101 presentation was uploaded to the town’s YouTube channel on Feb. 15 with the goal of sharing the growth and goals of roads, maintenance of roads and future development. The presentation also covered the code that helps staff work with developers when making roads.

The presentation starts with Witsman introducing the Thoroughfare Plan, which serves as the guiding document for road networks.

“This is not really looking at what the roads are today, but what you expect our road network to be in a fully developed condition and allowing you to plan for that,” Witsman said.

In the plan, they break down the roads into three classifications: arterials, collectors and local. When defining a roads classification, they also define the right-of-way width for those roads, such as arterials having 140 feet of right-of-way and locals having 40 feet.

Witsman said other documents that help define the roads are the Subdivision Control Ordinance — which has the process, design and geometric standards for roads — and the Access Management Plan that helps developers plan for access points.

There are 64.794 miles of road in the town of McCordsville reported by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).

“It is important that this is tracked and updated with INDOT because it is used in calculating a portion of road taxes,” Witsman said.

When it comes to basic terminology when dealing with roadwork, there is construction and reconstruction — which are exactly what they sound like — and preservation, meaning maintenance of the road and preserving initial investments of roads.

Witsman said that preservation is done to also help keep water from penetrating into the road and going into freeze and unfreeze cycles, which creates cracks and potholes.

Witsman said they use a PASER rating system for roads, indirectly required by the state in order to be eligible for the Community Crossings Match Grant program (CCMG).

The PASER rating system is on a 1-to-10 scale, and there is training required in order to rate the roads. The roads were rated in November 2022 at an average rating of 7.8, which Witsman said was pretty high with new roads coming in with each development.

Witsman said they will again rate the roads in April of this year.

Witsman said there are two main funds that come in from taxes required by the state — Motor Vehicle Highway (MVH) and Local Roads and Streets (LRS). In the MVH fund, Witsman said that approximately 61% of the revenue came from property taxes in 2023. The gas tax also contributed approximately 15%.

Another form of funding is grants. The CCMG is a 75/25 matching grant, which means for every dollar the town spends, three dollars will come from the state. There is also a MPO grant, which is more competitive and goes towards construction and inspection only.

Bonds and TIFs can also be a way to help fund.

Using information provided from the Local Technical Assistance Program, Witsman said that for January 2024, for every gallon of gas there was $0.69 tax included, which is federal and state tax, something the town has no control over. The town receives a check every month from the Department of Revenue.

For the MVH fund, there is a state account and then a local, with rules defined by Indiana Code 8-14-1 on how funds are collected and how they are to be used.

Witsman said that rules for towns are a little different from counties when following how they spend MVH dollars. With the 50% rule on gas taxes, Witsman said that those funds be split into restricted and unrestricted, meaning that the state requires the town to spend at least 50% of those dollars on construction, reconstruction and preservation — tangible road improvements.

The clerk treasurer maintains the funds, moving half of those gas taxes into the fund from the checks every month.

With MVH expenses, there are others that are not restricted, and that the town spent 56% of those expenses on road projects, construction and design in 2023. Other parts of those expenses range from payroll, ADA ramps and other miscellaneous items.

The LRS fund, Indiana Code 8-14-2, has its own set of rules but are similar to MHV fund.

“One of the methods or approaches the town has been using for the past seven years or so is to mainly use the LRS fund as a fund for purchase of equipment,” said Witsman, which includes trucks, plows, mowers and other equipment.

Witsman said it is a smaller fund, with approximately $157,000 in 2023. Witsman said the fund has been mainly used for equipment but can be used for other road costs.

The LRS fund has specifically defined that how the money comes in is based on the road miles and population.

“It does change year to year as we add miles and also when we do a new census it’s also impacted as well,” Witsman said.

Road projects in McCordsville include roundabouts, such as one on Mt. Comfort Road and CR 500 N. This county project has already started and should be completed this year. Another roundabout will be at CR 600 N and CR 600 W and is currently under design, funded through a TIF.

Two new traffic lights are also planned for 2024. One traffic light will be at 2nd Street and Main Street, which will be the entrance to the new town center. Construction for this area started in Fall of 2023 and is expected to be completed by June of this year.

The second traffic light will be at Brookside Parkway. While it is not currently designed, it is planned for the second half of 2024.

Witsman said that design projects they have underway include a roundabout at CR 750 N, which is expected to go through design and right-of-way acquisition this year.

There is also going to be a study done at Windsor Drive and Mt. Comfort Road, where the new Hampton Walk development is currently being constructed. Witsman said the town has committed $25,000 for the study there to figure out what they can put in the area for pedestrian crossing.

“That could be as something as basic as some flashers to cross there or up to a full HAWK crossing or a signal,” Witsman said. “The point of that is to determine what we want to do for the crossing.”

Witsman said that the big project for McCordsville is the Broadway Street and Mt. Comfort Road intersection, which is done through the MPO grant and is $10.4 million — $5.5 million from the state and $4.8 million from local dollars. The project is currently under design and right-of-way acquisition for this year with letting and construction spanning from 2025 into 2026.

Witsman said there are more projects that are on their Capital Projects Plan, including roundabouts along the Mt. Comfort Corridor at CR 900 N and CR 700 N.

Witsman said they also focus on preservation while these projects happen. For 2024, there is about $60,000 for patching and $40,000 for crack sealing. Witsman said they also leverage some of the MVH dollars through the CCMG program to resurface roads, those that are rated 6 and below on the PASER rating system.