Manhattan project focus of road study

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The county's most-traveled road is the focus of an engineering study aimed at getting state funding for improvements.

Manhattan Road will undergo a study by American Consulting, which will then apply for state funding to upgrade and straighten the road from U.S. 40 to the Greencastle city limits.

A traffic count last spring showed that 6,400 cars travel the road daily. That is twice as many cars as any other local road, Highway Supt. Dave Sutherlin told County Commissioners Kristina Warren, Gene Beck and Jim Baird on Tuesday.

A state grant would pay for 80 percent of the project, with the county responsible for 20 percent of the cost.

The commissioners agreed to a $4,500 contract for American Consulting to undertake the study and submit it to the state for consideration.

Meanwhile, the commissioners continued their appointments to fill vacancies on various boards. Baird will serve on the emergency management, solid waste, health department, county development and West Central Economic Development boards. Warren will serve on the Operation Life and Redevelopment Commission boards. Beck will serve on the county plan commission, solid waste and 911 boards.

Also Perry Wainman was reappointed to the aviation board, and Marilyn Clearwaters was appointed to the cemetery board. Vacancies remain on the 911 board, plan commission, board of zoning appeals, and solid waste advisory board.

In other business during their first meeting of the new year, the commissioners:

-- Appointed Warren as president of the board, and Beck as vice president.

-- Heard an inquiry from Steve Luther of Beam Longest and Neff engineers on Bridge 146 and Bridge 137. He asked what the county would like to do with the existing iron bridges when the replacement project moves forward. The engineering plans call for bypassing those bridges, so they could be removed. But because of state rules governing historic bridges, the iron structures would have to be preserved and stored in case another use or location can be found for them. That could prove costly. The commissioners made no decision on whether to remove the bridges or to let them sit where they are until another location for them could be found.

-- Heard a lengthy presentation on insurance from Greg Cox and Amy Carpenter of Apex Benefits.

-- Approved employee contracts for the Recorder's Office at the request of Jeannette Summitt.

-- Learned a master gardener class will start in mid-February.

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