If you’re traveling through Logansport this summer, you’ll notice that many areas are under construction. The Logansport-Cass County Planning Department is providing this update to help keep residents informed about some of the work they’re likely to encounter.
18th Street Bridge
The 18th Street Bridge and the sidewalk along the bridge remain closed for a bridge rehabilitation project. The city and county have worked together on this project, which will also include new decorative lighting and railing. The protected sidewalk will stay on the east side of the bridge.
“The 18th Street bridge project has been proceeding smoothly, and has been running ahead of schedule,” says Cass County Highway Superintendent Jeff Smith. “While we’re confident in the target date of Sept. 4, we are hopeful for a re-opening a couple weeks before that date if weather and other factors continue to cooperate.”
Market Street Bridge
The Market Street Bridge will be closed for construction as of Thursday, June 28. The bridge will be completely demolished and rebuilt, so this project is expected to take at least a year to complete, and the bridge will be closed for the duration of the project. It’s expected to re-open by July 2019.
State road detours must be on state-maintained roads only. Westbound drivers on Market Street (Business 24) will be detoured south on 3rd Street to Burlington Avenue, then west on Hoosier Heartland Highway and north on SR 29-U.S. 35/U.S. 24 bypass back to Business 24. Eastbound drivers on Business 24 will be detoured south on SR 29-U.S. 35/U.S. 24 bypass, east on Hoosier Heartland Highway and then north on Burlington Avenue to Third Street, back to Market Street.
There is also a detour for those who walk along the Market Street Bridge. The walking detour takes Eel River Avenue to Third Street to Front Street.
When it’s completed next year, the Market Street Bridge will keep the same look of the Third Street Bridge on the actual decking, with railing, lighting and a new multi-use path on the north side of the bridge.
Local officials say having two bridges closed at the same time wasn’t the original plan.
“When the 18th Street project was being developed by the county and city, it was anticipated to be occurring two years after the Market Street Bridge, controlled by INDOT, was constructed,” Smith says. “However, due to delays with Market Street, we find them overlapping for a short time. Keep in mind these two bridges are on opposite ends of town with mostly different detour routes. The street that will probably see traffic from both detours is Third Street/Burlington Avenue.”
“Construction projects are a sign of a progressive community and there are definitely growing pains during construction, but businesses remain open, and businesses and their customers should be prepared to grow together,” says Bill Cuppy, president of the Logansport-Cass County Chamber of Commerce. “These projects may cause employees and customers to use alternative routes, but they can still get where they want to go and patronize our local businesses. During these construction projects I believe communication is the key to alleviating the frustration. Local organizations will continue to communicate the progress of each project to help keep our businesses and citizens well informed.”
New sidewalks on Broadway, Fulton Street
The Logansport Redevelopment Commission has funded new sidewalks on Broadway that will incorporate the existing downtown streetscape design.
“The area along Broadway has needed attention for some time,” says Scott Kraud, president of the Logansport Redevelopment Commission. “It’s a part of our downtown but it looked nothing like it. So, we decided it was time to extend the streetscape project along East Broadway from Third Street, west to Eel River Avenue. We will not be touching the Cole Park area as that was just recently done. We did, however, wrap around Second Street toward Market to tie into work that had been done previously at All Saints Catholic Church. Once the bridge project is complete, we’ll look into plans to address the infrastructure on Eel River Avenue leading to the Market Street Bridge.”
Through a Community Crossings grant, in partnership with Logansport Memorial Hospital, a new sidewalk is being installed along the south side of Fulton Street, north of the hospital.
Planning director Arin Shaver says Logansport’s Complete Streets Committee participated in an Active Living Workshop through the North Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (NCI-AHEC) and determined that a connection was needed along Fulton Street, to improve pedestrian access to the hospital.
“We have many patients and visitors that walk to the hospital,” says Vicki Byrd, vice-president of planning and development for Logansport Memorial Hospital. “The addition of the sidewalk will be a great asset and offer added safety for individuals walking to the hospital. It was great to see this project come to life and we appreciate the support from the City.”
Fourth and Fifth Streets
Plans call for Fourth and Fifth Streets in downtown Logansport to be converted from one-way to two-way streets. Final construction drawings should be available in the latter part of July. A bid package will be presented in August and a contractor will be selected in September. The schedule will be finalized after that, so look for this project to be under construction in the fall and winter of 2018. New stoplights and stop signs will be installed in the project area, which includes Fourth and Fifth Streets with intersections at High, North, Broadway, Market and Melbourne. Fourth Street will serve as a connector between the Little Turtle Waterway Trail and the Eel River Run trail, and there will be sharrows on both sides of Fourth Street showing where bicyclists should ride.
“This is a good project that was begun by the previous administration, but they planned to pay too much for it,” says Deputy Mayor Mercedes Brugh. “We managed to change how it is funded so that, instead of paying $374,000, we will spend about $162,000. After checking with business owners along the two streets, and a public hearing, we decided to go ahead. Now the design is almost complete and we will finish the 4th and 5th two-way conversion this year.”
Melbourne Avenue Stormwater Project
Another major project that you’ll be hearing more about in the coming months is the Melbourne Avenue project. Construction will likely begin in November, and this project is anticipated to take up to two years. The project area includes Melbourne Avenue from Fifth Street to the confluence of the rivers at First Street. The project involves a federally-mandated stormwater/sewer separation but is also intended to fix some of the drainage issues that affect the downtown district.
The project will also continue the existing downtown streetscape design and will include improvements to the event space near Little Turtle Waterway, using concrete instead of asphalt between Third Street and Fifth Street, and adding additional electric, water and a sidewalk on the south side of Melbourne Ave. Portions of the sidewalk on the north side of Melbourne Ave. will also be widened.
LMU Superintendent Paul Hartman says the project will involve the closure of the intersection of Third Street and Melbourne Ave. for approximately one month. The closure is scheduled for July 2019 to coordinate with the completion of the Market Street Bridge project. This schedule will be adjusted to accommodate the progress of the construction projects.
“Logan’s Landing was pleased to be included in the planning for the Melbourne Ave. project,” says Becki Harris, executive director of Logan’s Landing. “The Taste of Cass County will have to find another area downtown for the 2019 and 2020 events, and the reconstruction closure of the Market Street Bridge will eliminate one point of access to the downtown district, but we feel strongly that the inconveniences along the way are outweighed by the tangible progress that Logansport is making.”
The Logansport Street Department will also be completing several paving projects this summer including 18th Street from river to river, Sunset Dr., Fulton St. and Spear Street between 24th and 25th Streets. The Board of Public Works and Safety also recently approved the addition of bike lanes along Water Street. Watch local media sources for details on the schedules for those projects.
Brugh says the Street Department has been able to do so much paving this year and last because of Logansport’s success with Community Crossings grants.
“Our two Community Crossing grants have totaled a little over two million dollars, all spent on paving and ADA ramps,” says Logansport Street Commissioner Tony Shanks. “My normal paving budget is in the neighborhood of $250,000, so the grants have allowed us to do much more paving than we normally could.”
Impacts for residents
Local officials ask residents and visitors to be patient as crews work to make these improvements. Use caution and be on the lookout for children as you’re traveling through neighborhoods. Residents in these areas should note that they will likely see increased traffic throughout the duration of the projects.
The projects will also result in some changes as students head back to school this fall.
“The construction will impact all of our schools,” says Michele Starkey, superintendent of Logansport Community School Corporation. “We will be sharing more information in regards to bus pick-up/drop-off times, school start and end times, and possible changes with parent pick up/drop off locations during registration time. We ask that people be extra cautious especially in the Franklin Elementary, Columbia Elementary and Columbia 6th Grade Academy areas as we have many students who walk to school and we know that there will be increased traffic. We are currently working to make sure that we have looked at every aspect to make sure that our students are as safe as possible.”
“Some will view the construction season as an inconvenience and it is, but it is a necessary evil of progress, and that’s very much what this means to the city,” says Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell.