News and Tribune

Floyd County

March 5, 2014

Improvements on the way on New Albany's Main Street

Officials say $2.4 million project to help with pedestrian, vehicle safety

NEW ALBANY — Admittedly the initial part of the project will be startling, as trees will be removed and the right-of-way cleared along East Main Street, but New Albany officials believe the $2.4 million in improvements planned for the corridor will have a substantial impact on pedestrian and vehicular safety in the corridor.

The city formally kicked off the project with a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday. Improvements will stretch from East Fifth Street to Vincennes Street, and the most noticeable change will be the installation of a grassy median.

New sidewalks, monuments and lighting features are also in store for East Main Street, as Mayor Jeff Gahan said the project should be completed by the fall.

“I’ve long thought that this former stretch of [Ind. 111] needed to be transformed into a street that more appropriately reflects its residential and important historic setting as the Mansion Row Historic District,” Gahan said.

The city was paid $6.125 million by the state in 2010 to take ownership of about 4.5 mile of Ind. 111, including the East Main Street span.

A portion of those funds were used on the first phase of the Grant Line Road improvement project, and the East Main Street effort will also be footed primarily through the relinquishment money.

MAC Construction & Excavating is the contractor for the project, and crews had already begun clearing trees along East Main Street on Wednesday.

Officials said sidewalks could be removed as early as Monday.

While the initial work will result in some drastic differences in the landscape of East Main Street, Gahan said new trees will be planted and the aesthetic appeal of the corridor improved.

Most importantly, city officials said  the changes should help slow down motorists and increase safety.

Ind. 111 “still functions as a state highway even though it’s been a city street for a few years now,” said John Rosenbarger, director of public facilities projects for the city.

Gahan credited residents for aiding with the design of the project, as the improvements spawned in part from a 2006 conceptual plan generated by the East Main Street Preservation Association.

“I want to especially recognize the true neighborhood effort that was and is the driving force behind this project,” Gahan said.

Officials stressed that updates to the project will be posted regularly at the website www.eastmainstreetproject.com.

 

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