What is not being debated by the council and the mayor is the need for 10th street to be widened and improved along the mile-and-a-half corridor proposed.
According to the project summary, “with significant commercial and residential development in the project limits ... the current roadway does not efficiently manage [left-hand turns] so traffic congestion and accidents are a common problem.”
The Ohio River Bridges Project is expected to add traffic to the corridor as it will be a main pathway between the east-end bridge and Interstate 65 through Jeffersonville.
“That whole east-end [bridge] project, that’s changing the whole world here,” said David Goffinet, director of public involvement for Bernardin, Lochmueller & Associates, Inc. “To me, that’s another reason this project is so important to do right now, to try and get ahead of it as much as we can, or at least, hopefully, time it to when those improvements will be done.”
He added that the traffic projections had been forecasted out to 2033 and the expectation is that the number of cars on 10th Street, in 20 years, will nearly double. According to the traffic data, the vehicles per-day is expected to increase from 25,075 to 41,362 by that time.
And, according to the report, the roadway where the expected widening is to occur is already dangerous.
“A countywide thoroughfare study was completed in 2012 and revealed that 10th Street, within the project limits, has a crash rate almost three times what would be expected for a multilane urban corridor of the same type,” according to the project description.
David Strong, with Eastside Animal Hospital and a member of the 10th Street business association, offered his concerns about what will happen to the businesses along 10th Street while construction is ongoing.
But, he added, that there is a larger concern for the 10th Street merchants.
“This shouldn’t be the place you have to get through,” Strong said of 10th Street. “With the rehab [to the road], it will attract new business, and if it’s not done, it won’t. The only solution is to get it done as soon as possible.”
He added that he wants 10th Street to be a destination, too.
Goffinet said most of the business owners along 10th Street seemed excited about the project.
“Generally, we’ve seen the business owners do acknowledge this is a challenging roadway, as it stands,” he said. “All they’ve asked out of it is easier access in and out.”
Keith Starling, leasing and marketing manager for America Place, said the expansion is important to their tenants. He said improving the mobility out of America Place Business Park, which is located off Plank Road, is paramount. In addition, the company is constructing a new facility in River Ridge Commerce Center that would likely need access to the 10th Street corridor.
To complete the plan, Goffinet said the city will need to acquire in excess of 100 properties. He added that most of the land is easements and small portions of property near the roadway. However, five homes would need to be acquired in order to move forward with the plan as it stands. Three of the residences are between Morningside Drive and Cherry Street along 10th Street, and the other two properties are on opposite sides of 10th Street at French Street.
Moore said the tentative timeline for the project is for design work to be wrapping up in two months; acquisitions to take place in August; in 2015 utility relocation will occur; and by spring 2016, the project would be ready for construction.