By BRADEN LAMMERS
Several approvals were granted at the Jeffersonville Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday related to ongoing bridge work.
A contract was approved with Walsh Design Build Team — the contractor completing the downtown portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project — to allow them access to Jeffersonville’s waterfront and the Ohio River Greenway in order to begin construction.
Along with allowing the contractor access to greenspace along the waterfront, City Engineer Andy Crouch requested a closure on Fort Street at Riverside Drive to the floodwall starting Monday. The purpose of the closure is to allow homes along the road to be relocated. In addition, the new northbound Interstate 65 bridge will have support piers placed in the actual roadway on Fort Street, according to construction documents.
While the closure Crouch requested is set to last only until July 12, it is expected that Fort Street will not reopen.
“I anticipate that they’ll be coming to us before that asking if they can take it over,” he said of contractors.
The contract requested with Walsh Design Build Team and the road closure were both unanimously approved.
Two project coordination contracts with the Indiana Department of Transportation related to the Big Four pedestrian and bicycle bridge were also approved Wednesday. A contract for a cut-out in the floodwall at Mulberry Street and a lighting contract with INDOT for the Big Four Bridge were both unanimously approved.
The city is on the hook to pay for 20 percent of the cost on each of the two projects, with the remaining 80 percent of the costs coming through INDOT.
Cost for the floodwall cutout totaled $453,420, which leaves Jeffersonville’s share at $90,684. The cost for the lighting package on the bridge totals $2.2 million, with Jeffersonville’s cost equaling about $440,000.
Mayor Mike Moore said the two contracts approved were originally part of the design of the Big Four ramp. However, he explained that the project came in over budget, partially because of the canal plan that would tunnel under the floodwall. As a result of the bids coming in over budget, the lighting package, which subsequently was revised, and the floodwall cutout were removed from the bid package.
“If we had not went and made those changes at the first of the year to get the project out to bid, we’d be sitting here today without a ramp,” said Jeffersonville Corporation Attorney Les Merkley.
But Moore noted that despite the two pieces of the project being bid outside the original bridge ramp, it has not added cost to the original project.
“The cost isn’t going up,” he said. “The $10 million project that the state said you’ve got to give 20 percent to, which we did, we’re still well inside those numbers.”
Merkley added the project is outside the city’s control.
“At the end of the day it is not a city project,” he said. “We do not bid it out, we do not select the contract, we have no control over the contractor.”
Crouch added that because the city does not have control over the lighting contract, there is uncertainty surrounding when the work will begin, and in turn, when the ramp will officially be opened. The current estimated opening date for Indiana’s bridge ramp is Aug. 31. Kentucky’s portion is open at Louisville’s Waterfront Park.
INDOT is expected to open bids on the lighting and floodwall contracts for the Big Four bridge ramp May 1.
Moore will sign an executive order to change the names of two streets in the Claysburg neighborhood in Jeffersonville.
Concerns about the roads were initially brought up at a meeting several months ago because there were two roads in the city named Pennsylvania Avenue. One of the streets is near the Ken Ellis Center and the other is in the Capitol Hills neighborhood.
Before the names are changed, Moore said he held a community meeting with people in the area to gather their input. He said at Wednesday’s meeting he received unanimous support to change the road from Pennsylvania Avenue to Bates-Bowyer Avenue.
In addition, Green Street will change to D.L. Motley Jr. Way.
The new signs are expected to be in place after the Kentucky Derby and no private residences will be affected by the name change.
RAILROAD WORK TO CLOSE ROAD
Joe Fackler, superintendent of operations for Southern Indiana Railway, requested a road closure to tear out and replace a railroad crossing on Utica-Sellersburg Road at Hidden Creek golf course.
The closure was approved for three days, from May 7-9.
The board of public works agreed to enter into a 30-day trial contract with VeriCorp to conduct background checks for the city.
VeriCorp claimed that it will save the city about $20 per background check. According to city officials, Jeffersonville conducts about 300 to 350 background checks per year. The total annual savings, if the contract meets expectations, would total more than $6,000.
NEW CITY BENCHES
Board of Public Works Director Rick Lovan said several benches in Glossbrenner Park will be replaced and are being paid for by the Taste of Jeffersonville committee.