By: Chris Morris - News and Tribune
NEW ALBANY - New Albany declared its own state of emergency Tuesday morning. But it had nothing to do with a border wall.
Instead, it’s to address the section of Old Vincennes Road that is crumbling and shifting. The road has been repaired in the past, but now needs to have a permanent fix.
City engineer Larry Summers asked the Board of Public Works & Safety for the emergency declaration so that work can begin much sooner than if the city followed the traditional process. The city will get three bids from O’Mara Contractors, All Terrain and Raggle as quickly as possible and proceed from there. Right now, traffic along the road near The Villages at Historic Silvercrest has been reduced to one lane.
Summers did not have a cost estimate for the project.
“We need to declare an emergency so we can move forward with a permanent repair,” Summers said.
Officials had hoped to wait until the end of the school year so traffic going to and from Scribner Middle School would not be disrupted. However, the recent failure in the roadway does now allow that to happen.
Summers said the road is giving way, comparing it to Mount Tabor Road.
New Albany City Councilman Al Knable was going to bring up the need for a permanent repair at Thursday’s regular council meeting after looking at the damage over the weekend. He said he is glad to hear the repair is going to be done right this time, adding he still plans to discuss the matter with other council members at the meeting.
“I want to make sure it’s an open bidding process and know where the money will be coming from,” he said. “I want to make sure it’s not another patch job.”
The council had set aside $2 million for paving this year, and president Scott Blair hopes the repair doesn’t use up all of that money. How to pay for the project likely will be a topic of discussion at Thursday’s meeting.
“I am glad it’s going to be repaired. It has obviously needed repaired for a long time,” he said. “Any time you have a road on an incline, you are going to have problems.”
Councilman Bob Caesar, who represents District 2, which includes Old Vincennes Road, said the permanent repair “absolutely needs to get done.” He said the money to make the repair will not come out of the 2019 paving funds and will not be borrowed.
“That is a very heavily traveled road and it’s very important that it gets taken care of,” Caesar said.
In other board of works action:
n Engineers with Jacobi Toombs & Lanz are coming up with a cost on completing sidewalks on Schell Lane. There is no timeline when the work will begin. That will depend on cost, design and easement acquisition.
Lenne Keithley, a resident of Schell Lane since 1978, has voiced concerns about the safety of the road to the board of works on previous occasions. He asked members Tuesday to consider placing speed and other warning signs in prominent areas of Schell in order to be noticeable to drivers.
“There is still a lot of speeding going on, but I appreciate what has been done,” Keithley told the board.
Warren Nash, president of the board, said Schell is taking on more traffic now since Grant Line Road is undergoing a makeover.