GREENCASTLE -- The busiest stretch of road cared for by Putnam County is in bad need of upgrade and repairs. With the help of a federal aid program, these changes could be coming at minimal cost to the county.
Laura Slusher of Indiana's Local Technical Assistance Program met with Putnam County Commissioners Gene Beck and Kristina Warren at Tuesday's meeting to discuss the county's application for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) on County Road 725E, from U.S. 36 South to Heritage Lake.
Slusher presented the commissioners with a hazard elimination study on the road, which has been submitted as part of the application process for HSIP. The study noted a number of deficiencies, including:
* No roadside protection
* Narrow roadway
* No pavement markings
* No curve warning signs at some points
* No super-elevation on curves.
It also recommends a number of countermeasures:
* Add curve warning signs with advisory speeds,
* Add or improve guardrails on curves (This has been taken care of on one of the curves.),
* Improve roadway surfaces in curves 1 and 2,
* Add super elevation to first curve,
* Add 1-foot gravel shoulder to entire length of road
* Addition of stop sign at CR 525N
* Additional signage and stop bars,
* Reconsider speed limit change once other improvements in place.
According to Slusher's study, the total cost of the suggested improvements would be $419,000. If the county is approved for HSIP, it would have to match 10 percent of the cost as part of the grant, for a total cost of $41,900.
County highway co-supervisor Jim Smith reported that some improvements, including the trimming of roadside brush and the installation of guardrails, have taken place. These would reduce the cost estimate slightly.
Beck asked if any right-of-way would have to be purchased in order to make these improvements. Smith said the county likely has 33 feet of right-of-way in this area. With this amount of space, Slusher said it would likely not be a problem.
Additionally, Beck asked if part of the county's contribution could be in-kind work, such as painting the road lines rather than paying a contractor for the work. Slusher said she would check on this.
Because the county is only at the application phase, this potential project is in its infancy. Slusher presented a preliminary schedule for the project which estimates approval of the grant for March 2011 with completion of the project in July 2013.