Cass Street roadwork in store for 2020

By Joseph Slacian

Drivers in the City of Wabash should expect road construction next year along Cass Street, Mayor Scott Long told those gathered at his Night With the Mayor gathering on Thursday, Nov. 21.

“We’ve got one major contract pending with our long term control planning to separate storm and sanitary sewers,” he said.

“It’s going to be on Cass Street, State Road 15, from Ferry Street south to Burnette Street.”

Bids will be sought in late November or early December, with construction starting “rather quickly,” the mayor continued.

“They can dig in the ground over the winter.”

Long said city officials hope to work with contractors to complete work one block at a time.

“So that you can make a detour around one block, other than semis, to get back on the road.”

He said he’s pushing to get the “pipe in the ground” quickly because the Indiana Department of Transportation is going to repave State Road 15 from State Road 16 through downtown Wabash.

“If I can get my pipe in the ground this winter, that’s going to save me and the city roughly $300,000 to $400,000, because they will then pay for the pavement,” he said.

To go along with the repavement on State Road 15, the city plans to do a reconstruction on Wedcor Avenue, located just north of U.S. 24.

“INDOT is going to put in a traffic signal out there,” Long said. “With the building of the new hotel, we have to rebuild Wedcor Avenue west of State Road 15, change some of the entrance and exit to Stock and Field. At that point, they’ve got one exit that’s too close to State Road 15, so your easement is shut down. So that’s another project that will be going on out there sometime in the spring.”

Some paving projects also are planned, thanks to funds from the state’s Community Crossing grant totaling more than $800,000 for next year.

The Wedcor Avenue is one project. Another is the milling and repaving of Falls Avenue from Sinclair Street to Cambridge Drive, while the third is the milling and repaving of Pike Street from Vernon Street to the city limits.

The city is now working on installing a sidewalk along Colerain Drive.

“I drive that every morning and I see kids walking to school at the middle school and high school in the street,” Long said.

“Plus, neighborhood residents getting their exercise by walking in the street. It’s a safety issue.”

As for the railroad overpass project on East Street, the mayor said he spoke with INDOT officials on Monday. The agency just received the designs from the engineers and, before the end of the year, hope to visit Wabash with the design engineers to meet with city officials to discuss the work, and any potential alternatives.

“I don’t really think there are any alternatives without closing some parallel streets to that railroad crossing,” he said. “We’ll see what they have to say.”

The Wabash Board of Public Works and Safety on Thursday approved a contract to redo sidewalk on the north side of Canal Street from Wabash to Huntington streets.

Next year, he added, the city plans to work on sidewalk projects at other sites around the city.
“I know there’s been some discussion about sidewalks on Cass Street,” he said. “I’m working with INDOT concerning that. That’s a state highway, so it’s their responsibility. If we have to go through INDOT, it takes three to four years to get all the paperwork from Wabash to Fort Wayne to Indianapolis and back. We are beginning those discussions.”

Following Long’s comments, the audience heard from five Wabash County residents who have moved here from other countries to discuss cultural diversity and inclusion in Wabash and Wabash County.

Speaking were Yumie Higuera of Japan, Hanna Haydar of Sudan, Chony Niccum of Guatemala, Tiffany Nguyen of Vietnam and Chris Francois of Haiti.

The five discussed the trials and tribulations of moving from their home country to Wabash and North Manchester, and their efforts to be accepted in the community.

Thursday’s meeting was the last in a series of quarterly Evening With the Mayor programs for 2019.

Posted on 2019 Nov 25