ELKHART — It’s been called “Carmaggedon” and “Nightmare on Nappanee Street.”
Whatever you call it, the two-year, $15 million S.R. 19 widening project is set to begin.
As part of a planned widening of the road between Lusher Avenue and Bypass Road to the north, utility companies are relocating utility lines and power poles in the section. They’re being moved out to make way for the eventual addition of a center turn lane in the four-lane road, also known as Nappanee Street.
“Full construction activities will begin as soon as utility relocation has been completed,” Indiana Department of Transportation spokeswoman Mary Foster said in an e-mail Thursday.
No telling, exactly, when that will be, though INDOT officials previously said work was to start in June. In the meantime, traffic signal improvements have started.
The new center turn lane in the busy commercial corridor is meant to make it easier and safer to make left-hand turns. As work evolves, though, motorists will likely face delays — while S.R. 19 will remain open as construction unfolds, traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction at times, down from two.
INDOT has kept S.R. 19 businesses apprised of the plans, but merchants still worry the work — expected to last until the summer of 2014 — will hamper sales. Business can contact INDOT at 866-227-3555 or email@example.com, according to Foster.
The project has a $14.84 million price tag and Goshen-based Rieth-Riley Construction is handling the work.
Aside from the widening of S.R. 19, the project entails reconstruction and relocation of the Franklin Street-S.R. 19 and Bypass Road-S.R. 19 intersections. New sidewalks, curbing and gutter will be installed, along with a new storm sewer system, traffic signals and pedestrian crosswalks.
Here’s a summary of other major road projects planned for this construction season:
Ÿ C.R. 17: Work is ongoing and on schedule, according to Elkhart County Highway Department Director Jeff Taylor. Warm weather has allowed contractor Phend and Brown Inc. to pick up work again with paving beginning in the next few days on the portion north of S.R. 119. C.R. 38 will be closed between C.R. 15 and C.R. 19 beginning April 9 for reconstruction of the intersection with C.R. 17. The construction zone on C.R. 38 will begin about 1,200 feet west of C.R. 17 and end 1,100 feet east of C.R. 17. Homeowners within the construction zone and emergency services will have access to the area west of C.R. 17 from C.R. 15. Access to the area east of C.R. 17 will be accessible from C.R. 19. The road will reopen July 16.
Ÿ Prairie Street Bridge: The highway department plans to replace the bridge’s deck and beams, widen sidewalks and add more lighting. The project will go out for bid in July. The bridge, located in Elkhart, will be closed from the beginning of August to the end of the year. Detour signs will direct traffic from Prairie Street to East Jackson Boulevard to Goshen Avenue to Indiana Avenue and back to Prairie Street.
Ÿ Wilden Avenue Bridge: Minor resurfacing will begin June 4 on the bridge over Rock Run Creek in Goshen.
Ÿ Monroe Street Bridge: Also over Rock Run Creek, the bridge will be widened this fall as part of a project with the city of Goshen, which is building a path for bikes and pedestrians.
Ÿ Elkhart Avenue Bridge: The county is planning to address cracks found in the concrete. The cracks are costmetic, not structural and won’t lead to the bridge being closed for work, according to county engineer Tom Rushlow.
Ÿ Shoppes on Six/Cassopolis Street: The city is improving the tree lawn area and adding a deceleration lane at the site, according to Mike Machlan, city engineer. A contract has been awarded and work should begin in the next two months with minimal disruption to traffic.
Ÿ NorthPointe: A $600,000 contract was awarded to Rieth Riley Construction Co. for phase 2 of the project, which includes a roundabout at NorthPointe Boulevard and Northview Drive and improving Northview north and south of the intersection. Improvements will include adding curb and gutter, sidewalk and storm sewer.
Ÿ Machlan said there will be minimal disruption and the project should also begin within the next two months.
Ÿ Baugo sewer extension: Baugo Community Schools is extending sewer to their property on C.R. 3, Machlan said. Traffic will be disrupted on C.R. 3 south of Mishawaka Road. Work should begin soon.
Ÿ Stevens Avenue sewer extension: Bids were recently opened by the Elkhart Board of Public Works. Sewer work will be done on Stevens from Capitol to Herald and about another have block north, Machlan said.
Ÿ Moose Trail/C.R. 6 — A sewer failure will require work within the next two months. Traffic will be disrupted on Moose Trail and C.R. 6 westbound will be down to one lane, Machlan said.
Ÿ First Street: The street work north of Pike Street will change access to the post office and is the start of a multi-year project to upgrade infrastructure in that neighborhood.
Ÿ Alley between Third Street and the Millrace Canal: Work should start to move utility lines and upgrade this from an alley to a street this year, though this project is out of the way and shouldn’t cause traffic hassles for many people.
Ÿ Paving work: City officials are still figuring out what minor paving maintenance projects will happen this year, said Mary Cripe, city engineer.