TERRE HAUTE —
Motorists could be traveling in all directions through the intersection of Seventh Street and Margaret Avenue by mid to late October, said Terre Haute City Engineer Chuck Ennis.
The project has a scheduled completion date of June 1, 2013, but “they will get done this fall,” Ennis said. “They are well ahead of schedule. We are looking for it to be substantially complete and be able to drive on it this fall,” Ennis said.
“The dry weather has really helped. We have not had any weather delays this summer, which has been really good for construction. That is one bright spot of the drought,” Ennis said. “It has kept things moving.”
Curb work is being done on the south side and base work for asphalt is progressing. Ennis said the entire project, which spans from Third Street to Seventh Street, making five lanes of traffic with a continuous left turn will be opened in the fall, weather permitting.
“It is partially open now,” Ennis said.
The final touches, such as new road striping and new traffic control loops will likely be completed next year, Ennis said.
When originally built as a county road, Margaret Avenue was higher than many adjoining properties, which caused drainage problems and ponding of water as roadside ditches were filled in.
The current project was designed to actually lower the level of the road by 6 inches to a foot in various places. In addition, to construct the road correctly, Ennis said, construction workers went down another foot and a half to two feet to build up the sub base, then build the road.
“It was about three feet below the former road and looked like they were digging to China to try to build this road,” Ennis said. “To lower the road, they go down farther into the soil to build up the base.
“It looks like there was over excavating, but that is what needs to be done,” the city engineer added.
The project had to provide a compacted ground base, then layers of asphalt were placed down prior to a finishing layer for the road. The completed road will be lower than adjoining properties to provide drainage, including curbs and storm sewers.
In addition, the new road will undulate — make a small wave — in various sections to force water into gutter pans and inlets for drainage. “There is a little bit of a crown in some places for drainage,” Ennis said.
The construction scheduled was managed by the Indiana Department of Transportation, which halts all construction from Dec. 1 to April 1 each year. Because of dry weather, Ennis said the contractor, Feutz Construction of Paris, Ill., is motivated to get the work done well before the first of December.
The next section of Margaret Avenue slated for construction is from Seventh Street to 14th Street. The city has design about 30 percent completed for that section, Ennis said. Once design is completed, the next step is land acquisition. It took about three years to obtain land for the current project from Third Street to Seventh Street.
“We are hoping land acquisition goes more smoothly. We have even pushed the road slightly to the south to minimize land acquisition,” Ennis said.
On the far east side of Margaret Avenue, at the intersection of Indiana 46, Ennis said utility relocation work is scheduled to start next week to move electrical utility poles and natural gas lines. That work will allow Margaret Avenue to be widened to two 18-foot wide lanes from Indiana 46 to Sycamore Terrace Street, which goes by Clabber Girl and FedEx.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.