County opens bids on road projects

Beginning next month, motorists can expect delays or detours for nearly five miles along East 25th Street, between the Columbus city limits and State Road 9.

Two bids submitted by independent contractors were opened Monday, with both firms offering to put a fresh layer of asphalt on 16 separate segments of rural roads that include East 25th St. Milestone Contractors LLP of Columbus proposed to do the work for $2,235,190, while Dave O’Mara Contractors Inc. of North Vernon bid $2,248,798 – a 0.6% difference between the two proposals.

In recent years, Milestone and O’Mara have been the only contractors to submit overlay bids to Bartholomew County government. This year’s difference of $13,608 is the closest the competing bids have been in several years, county attorney Grant Tucker said. The Indiana Department of Transportation’s Community Crossings matching grant program will reimburse the county $1 million, while local monies will pay the remainder of the costs.

Both bids are now being studied, and county highway engineer Danny Hollander is expected to make his recommendation to the Bartholomew County Commissioners within a few weeks.

Separate bids will be sought to upgrade the concrete 25th Street bridge over Clifty Creek, just north of Otter Creek Golf Course, Hollander said. A notice to bidders will be put out in two weeks, with proposals opened during the final week of June, he said.

Hollander emphasized the work on what is legally called Bridge 317, which includes strengthening sections more than a century old, will be a temporary fix, “so we can hopefully get 10 more years out of it,” he said. County officials are hopeful they will be able to obtain federal dollars to replace the bridge during that period of time.

The temporary fix Hollander mentioned might be applied in two different ways. It could involve putting down latex modified concrete or an epoxy coating, with both capable of temporarily smoothing out rough surfaces on a concrete bridge deck. Highway officials will meet next week to determine the best way to move the project along, he said.

But there is a safety concern if the bridge needs to be closed. Westbound traffic on East 25th Street will be detoured left onto County Road 650E before continuing west onto County Road 50N. While traffic can return to East 25th Street by heading north along County Road 500E into Petersville, Hollander says earlier closings show most westbound motorists prefer to stay on County Road 50N until they reach U.S. 31.

At both the start and end of classes at Clifty Creek Elementary School, a bridge closing can cause traffic problems that might leave grade school students more vulnerable, county officials say.

2023 Bartholomew County overlay program

Clay Township

East 25th Street, from the Columbus city limits to State Road 9 (4.47 miles)

Clifty Township

Base Road, from State Road 46 to County Road 850E (1.41 miles)

Harrison Township

County Road 675W, from State Road 46 to Baker Hollow Road (0.49 miles)

County Road 600W, from Georgetown Road to Baker Hollow Road (0.99 miles)

Haw Creek Township

County Road 650N, from the Hope town limits to County Road 900E (0.509 miles)

County Road 800E, from the Hope town limits to County Road 600N (0.442 miles)

County Road 900E, from County Road 800N to Stafford Road (0.605 miles)

Ohio Township

County Road 400S, from Brown County Line to CR 850W (0.5 miles)

County Road 850W, from County Road 400S to Bellsville Pike. (0.34 miles)

Rock Creek Township

County Road 400S, from County Road 900E to County Road 1000E (0.62 miles)

County Road 1100E, from County Road 200S to County Road 300S (0.98 miles)

County Road 500S, from County Road 1000E to County Road 1200E (2 miles)

Sand Creek Township

County Road 850S, from U.S. 31 to County Road 375E (0.23 miles)

Wayne Township

County Road 600S, from County Road 300W to east terminus (0.641 miles)

County Road 200W, from County Road 950S to County Road 1050S (0.605 miles)

County Road 800S, from County Road 250W to east terminus (1.261 miles)

Total: 16.498 miles

Source: Bartholomew County Highway Department