Goshen accepts bids for Main Street work

Pictured in this May 2 photo, Goshen tests turning three Main Street intersections into four-way stops temporarily.

GOSHEN — The Goshen Board of Works opened four bids Monday for downtown improvements to Main Street.

The board accepted bids for a project that includes concrete work this year and paving next spring. It’s a plan that the city Redevelopment Commission objected to in June, when members voted to accept bids only after initially rejecting the idea over traffic and parking changes.

Bids opened Monday included:

n $1.63 million from Rieth-Riley Construction Co.

n $1.47 million from Phend and Brown Inc

n $1.31 million from Walsh and Kelly Inc.

n $989,657 from Niblock Excavating

The project includes two separate deadlines, explained Civil Traffic Engineer Leslie Biek. Curb ramp replacements and select sidewalk improvements in the stretch between Madison and Pike streets are meant to be carried out this year, while road repaving would be finished by the end of June 2020.

The improvement plan was drawn up when Goshen took local control of Main Street from the state, after Ind. 15 was re-routed to bypass those downtown blocks. The plan also includes road striping changes that will reduce Main Street from four lanes to two and will convert parallel parking to angled parking, which is expected to add dozens of spaces.

Redevelopment Commission members voted 3-2 not to accept bids for the project at their June 11 meeting, after remarking that they heard overwhelmingly negative feedback on the plan. Members also objected to the parking change, lane reduction and loss of a dedicated left-turn lane at intersections.

They later reversed the decision. Biek indicated they changed their minds with the understanding that the paving has to be done before the striping is possible, and that the striping is negotiable.

She said the plan is the subject of a special RDC meeting set for Friday.

“They didn’t say we had to come to an agreement before it was bid, they said before it was striped we’ll meet with them and get approval,” she said. “We have to pave it anyway, so it’s not gonna be striped. It’s not gonna be paved till next year, so we can always change the striping plan if we need to. But we needed something to bid.”

She added that because the traffic changes only involve road paint, they can be reversed if they don’t work out. It’s the same for traffic signal changes, though those aren’t planned until next year at the earliest.

The city plans to convert some lights into four-way stops at downtown intersections after the other changes are made, but she said the light poles will be kept up in case they need to undo it. The city tested the change into four-way stops at three intersections in May, but abandoned the experiment early when pedestrians found it hard to safely cross all four lanes of traffic on Main Street.

“We can guess, but traffic has a mind of their own,” Biek said. “We think it will work, but we want to make sure before we make it permanent.”

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