News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

March 18, 2014

Brazil preps for ‘mess’

Public gets details on 18 months of road, sidewalk work on U.S. 40

TERRE HAUTE — Folks in Brazil are preparing for many months of travel headaches associated with a multi-million dollar facelift planned for U.S. 40 through the heart of the Clay County seat.

On Tuesday night, dozens of Brazil residents gathered in City Hall to hear officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation and others involved in the road improvement project answer questions and describe how the work will affect travel on the city’s main street for the next 18 months.

INDOT has hired Gradex Inc, a Carmel-based contractor, to tackle the $19.7-million pavement replacement project. Work is expected to begin in early April and continue until November 2015.

“It’s going to be a mess,” said a woman who owns a business along U.S. 40 in Brazil but who did not want to give her name. Others at the meeting echoed her feelings, but many felt INDOT and other officials did a good job answering questions from the public.

“I was impressed,” said Janine Mullinix,” who lives near U.S. 40. “I thought they answered the questions well.”

In addition to repaving U.S. 40 from Indiana 340 to the Walmart store on the east side of Brazil, INDOT will install painted street lights in the historic downtown district, new sidewalks, new storm drains and new traffic signals.

Improvement work will also take place for a short portion of Indiana 340 to the Waterworks and for about one block north and south of U.S. 40 on Indiana 59.

Another big change planned: The intersection of U.S. 40 and 340, which is now a “Y” shape, will be transformed into a “T” intersection, officials said.

This year, work will take place west of Indiana 59. Next year, work will be on the east side.

Perhaps the biggest question on many peoples’ minds at Tuesday night’s meeting was what will happen when accidents close Interstate 70 and traffic is rerouted to U.S. 40 through Brazil.

“We know it’s going to happen,” said Debbie Calder, an INDOT spokeswoman at the meeting. “But we are definitely looking at that and trying to come up with some plans.”

To that end, INDOT will be meeting in April with emergency management officials from Clay and Vigo counties along with members of the Metropolitan Planning Organization of the West Central Indiana Economic Development District and also transportation officials from Illinois, Calder said.

U.S. 40 will have one eastbound and one westbound lane open for traffic through the entire construction project, officials said.

“When it’s all said and done, this is going to be a nice street for everybody,” said Alan Mize, the project manager with DLZ Indiana LLC, the Indianapolis-based company that did the design work for the project.

Once the work is completed, parking will continue to be available in all of the same locations along U.S. 40 through Brazil, officials said. However, the slope of the street in the parking areas will be greatly reduced. Currently, the street slopes down fairly steeply along U.S. 40 in Brazil, making opening car doors along the sidewalks sometimes difficult, residents said.

No work will take place on the Indiana 59 portion of the project during special events, such as the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival, officials said. Also, there will be no lane closures during winter on U.S. 40 or Indiana 59 when snow plows might require access, they said.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com

 

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