Money is now available to pave more county roads this year than at any time in at least 38 years, county officials said.
The Bartholomew County Highway Department has been awarded $999,255 through the Community Crossing matching grant program from the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Since 320 city and county agencies were in competition for the available money, county highway engineer Danny Hollander said he was pleasantly surprised when his department received just short of the $1 million grant cap.
“I’m not going to gripe about the $700 we didn’t get,” Hollander said.
The grant will add an additional 5 miles of paving on top of the almost 27 miles approved last spring, Hollander said.
In addition, some funds will be used to reimburse the county for expenses already incurred in repairing a bridge on County Road 750E, just south of Rockcreek Elementary School, Hollander said.
Sufficient funds should also be available to repair a second bridge on County Road 1020E, north of 800N, as well as some smaller road projects, the engineer said.
Matching monies from cities, towns and counties were required from a Local Option Income Tax, a wheel tax or Rainy Day reserve funds.
Since Bartholomew County has not enacted either of the two taxes, top elected officials weren’t sure what type of funds, if any, they would receive through the grant program.
“But I felt like our people really made an organized and well-prepared presentation,” commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said.
Bartholomew County municipalities are also benefiting from the disbursement of state transportation dollars.
INDOT awarded the city of Columbus roughly $823,000 last week to complete road-repaving projects at three intersections in the city:
Central Avenue from State Street to 11th Street
Taylor Road from U.S. 31 to 26th Street
Tipton Lakes Boulevard from Coles Street to Goeller Boulevard
Work in those three areas has already begun, said Dave Hayward, Columbus executive director of public works/city engineer. The project mostly involves repaving the roads in those areas, but some curb and median work will also be completed, Hayward said.
The $823,000 in grant funds will contribute to the total $1.6 million cost of the repaving project, he said.
In northeast Bartholomew County, INDOT has approved $57,332 from the same program for the town of Hope, town manager J.T. Doane said.
That money will be used to repave sections of seven streets: Jackson, Harrison, Washington, Harrison, Butner, Midway and Hitchcock, he said.
This new grant is in addition to funds already allocated for repaving streets that were torn up as part of Hope’s $3 million water system upgrade, the town manager said.
Although several streets have already been milled in Hope, Doane said last week’s scheduled repaving was delayed due to problems at an asphalt plant.
The town manager said he is hopeful that town streets will be paved by Sept. 23, but the timetable won’t be established until a contractor is hired, Doane said.
The grants were available for a variety of projects such as road and bridge preservation, roundabouts, road reconstruction, and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance in conjunction with road preservation.
Combined, the state-supported funds amount to nearly $1.9 million in road improvements in Bartholomew County jurisdictions.
Preference was given to projects that have the greatest economic impact — or that tie directly to economic development, Hollander said.