The City of Greencastle is working with Bernardin, Lochmueller Associates engineering, Indianapolis, on design work for a project that may not be ready for construction until late 2014.
Mayor Sue Murray welcomed some 20 residents to City Hall Thursday night for an open house-type atmosphere where they viewed drawings detailing the proposed improvement areas as well as an extension that would allow South Street to intersect with U.S. 231 between Feld's Carpet and Casey's General Store.
The proposed upgrades to South Street in the Foxridge area (south of Veterans Highway and east of Boomington Street) will be primarily funded with federal dollars. Planned changes include improving the pavement, adding curbs with a closed storm sewer system and sidewalk construction.
On the east, the project will go all the way to Zinc Mill Road, while on the west, South Street will also be extended from East Street to create a new intersection with Bloomington Street.
The project has actually been on the drawing board since 2007 when the first preliminary drawings were rendered.
"We originally thought INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) was going to let bids in 2013," Mayor Murray said. "Now it looks like 2014, so it's not going to happen tomorrow."
As proof of that, she offered the fact that the city had been working with INDOT for 10 years on the People Pathways trail project before it was finally finished up last year.
Project Engineer L. Nick Batta told the group that construction costs are estimated at $3.2 million with the federal government providing an 80-20 grant (in which Greencastle must provide the 20 percent match).
Currently the project is in the preliminary design phase with environmental studies also on tap. Traffic analysis in the area is ongoing and a utility coordination powwow is expected next month.
The next public meeting, Batta said, will not likely be until winter 2013.
If additional right-of-way must be acquired to complete the project, right-of-way appraising is due for fall 2013, he said, with final design expected by early fall 2014.
The South Street project, Batta explained, has a couple of simple missions -- to help alleviate congestion along U.S. 231 in and around the Veterans Memorial Highway intersection, and to create a better access to the city's East Side by connecting U.S. 231 with the high school, Ivy Tech, and the prime industrial and commercial sides of Greencastle.
South Street will remain a two-lane road, he said, although the pavement will be replaced and sidewalks added on one or both sides of the street.
Only two general questions were asked before residents returned to individual exploration of the drawings and consultation with engineering representatives, including Eric Swickard, a public involvement specialist, who is a North Putnam High School graduate.
Batta was asked how much land the finished project would need. He admitted he did not know at this point in the process.
"A year from now I might know more about that," he said.
Meanwhile, another resident asked if it might be possible to go from the overhead power lines out there now to buried lines.
"There's not much room on the south side of the street," he reasoned.
Batta promised to look into the possibility, but cautioned that it can add considerable expense to a project. Also, it might not qualify for INDOT funding, leaving the city to pay the entire utility relocation bill.