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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Manhattan Road intersection project dropped due to cost

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Plans for an intersection improvement on Manhattan Road have been dropped by county officials after engineering estimates priced the project out of possibility.

Commissioners Kristina Warren, Gene Beck and Dennis O'Hair heard the estimate of $422,000 to lower a hill and widen the intersection of CR 450 South at Manhattan Road to improve motorist visibility. An area resident had requested the improvement last year after motorists were injured in an accident at the intersection.

The commissioners had asked engineering firm Beam Longest and Neff to look into the project, which they at first believed could be completed by the county highway department.

Engineer Steve Luther reported on Monday, however, that the project has estimated construction costs of $350,000, along with engineering costs, and the likely purchase of additional right-of-way from property owners.

"I just really believe that money can be better spent someplace else," Warren said, noting the same money can take care of some smaller bridge projects. When the intersection improvement became a federal aid project, she said, that added more paperwork and details, which added more cost.

"I just don't think it's worth it," she said.

Beck and O'Hair both agreed, making unanimous their decision to notify the Indiana Department of Transportation that they will drop the project.

On other road-related discussions, the commissioners also saw a map from INDOT on urban boundary planning to determine road standards.

The state is required to re-evaluate its planning maps every 10 years, and the latest version expands the area around Greencastle that the state thinks should have higher road standards.

The commissioners, however, were unclear how the new mapping would affect their responsibility for road maintenance. The new boundary takes in the DePauw Nature Park, as well as the area of Buzzi Unicem (Lone Star), and a large area south and west of the Big Walnut Sports Park and Putnam Count Airport.

The commissioners agreed to ask an INDOT representative to come to their next meeting to explain the map project and how it will affect the county

Bridge 146, or the iron Houck Bridge, has also seen a standstill on its replacement project.

The engineering firm hired to handle the project, Wolpert, has notified the county that due to the company being bought out, they no longer want to handle the project since it will not be profitable to them.

The county has already paid the firm $93,000 on the project, however, but no plans have been given to the county for the work. A contract was signed in January 2000 with the engineers.

The commissioners decided to turn the matter over to attorney Tim Bookwalter for review.

And, plans are still being developed for the rehabilitation of the old Bridge 159 at Reelsville. Engineer Steve Luther said he does not know when final plans will be submitted to the state.

Luther said he has also started the project to substitute the replacement of iron Bridge 45 on the Putnam-Hendricks county line with Bridge 10 in Russell Township. Resident protest of the Bridge 45 replacement project led to the commissioners' decision to drop that effort.

In other business at Monday's meeting, the commissioners:

-- Heard concerns from the Soil and Water Conservation District about the office's 2007 budget and how it will be affected by staff salaries and new rent costs.

-- Agreed to fund an additional $7,500 for the county health department from the county's Economic Development Income Tax account. The amount will cover funding shortfalls.

-- Heard a request from Sally Gray of the Putnam County Museum asking the commissioners to renew the county's $1,000 membership in the growing attraction. The new location of the museum attracted a record number of visitors recently, she said.

-- Learned that Karr Tuckpointing will soon begin working on the west and north side of the courthouse to repair crumbling limestone.

-- Heard from Sheriff Mark Frisbie that the Putnam County Jail needs a new roof, and he has sought bids on the project. Two bids have been submitted, but a third is needed since the total cost exceeds the $75,000 threshold for quotes. If a third bid is received by the June 19 commissioners meeting, the project can be approved. An additional appropriation to pay for the project through the jail cumulative building fund will be advertised for the June 20 county council meeting.

-- Agreed to consider shuffling some office locations in the courthouse to allow more efficient operation of some offices that work closely together.

-- Learned that progress continues on the planned horse arena at Cloverdale. No groundbreaking date has been set yet.

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