GOSHEN — Construction work on Jefferson and Main streets is going relatively smoothly, and construction crews have made a handful of interesting discoveries along the way.
City Engineer Mary Cripe said the reconstruction of Jefferson Street is just a bit behind schedule. The project lost about a day-and-a-half recently when issues arose around getting trucks in to bring in the road material.
Cripe said, however, that the contractor is working hard to catch up in order to reopen the section between Main and Fifth streets by the Nov. 15 deadline.
The road material, pre-cast concrete mats being laid in sections, is being used for the first time in the state.
This particular reconstruction lent itself to the unique method because the stormwater system and pipes under Jefferson Street are undersized, Cripe said.
The engineering department didn’t think it would be a good idea to add an additional stormwater burden onto the system. As a result, the pre-cast concrete was chosen as the best and most efficient alternative to the stormwater issue.
The mats have an arch underneath for stormwater storage, and below the mat is a layer of stone that allows for additional storage. The stormwater collected will then run to the Elkhart River or Rock Run Creek, rather than into the city’s stormwater system.
Once the street is reopened, residents can expect a slightly different parking arrangement on Jefferson Street.
Cripe noted that the parking spaces by the Chamber of Commerce will now be regular-angled parking, rather than the reverse-angle spaces that were there previously.
In addition, the spaces near l.o.l. Health and Fitness Studio and the Masonic temple will also turn to regular-angled parking.
Cripe said that parking in front of the police department will remain of the parallel variety.
On Main Street, work on the water and sewer system is on schedule, and Cripe said that all four lanes could be open as soon as the end of next week.
Currently, one northbound lane is open and both southbound lanes are open. Commuters and those visiting the downtown district should soon be able to travel through the area without impediment.
Crews made a few interesting discoveries while digging up the roads, including wooden water pipes, which Cripe said were part of the city’s original stormwater system.
She said the pipes were no longer in use, but she was still intrigued by their presence. Cripe believes the wooden pipes could have been placed around the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.
A 6,000-gallon fuel oil tank was also discovered, which had served the Masonic temple until about 1984. The tank had to be removed but did not delay the project.