Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman can check off another project on his to-do list for the city.
On Wednesday morning, Luedeman and other officials gathered for a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the completion of the first phase of the reconstruction of West Second Street.
The $3 million project included removing and replacing more than 2,700 feet of roadway from Lasher Drive west to Vehslage Road, according to a news release from project engineer, GAI Consultants.
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Other improvements made include the addition of a storm sewer to help alleviate flooding, curbs, gutters and a sidewalk on the north side of the street.
The new road is not only smooth and free of potholes but is about 4 feet wider now, making traveling the area easier and safer for motorists and pedestrians, city officials said.
“GAI has enjoyed teaming with the city of Seymour to bring the West Second Street project to fruition,” said Mark Young, engineering manager with GAI Consultants. “This project is a prime example of what can be accomplished when everyone works together and focuses on the needs of the community.”
A substantial savings of between $800,000 and $1 million in construction costs was made possible through the use of alternative green infrastructure for storm water management, Young added.
Luedeman referred to West Second Street as a “multi-mayor” project, as it has been discussed and in the works for more than 20 years, going back to when Mayor John Burkhart was in office.
Construction began last March.
The project received Federal Highway Administration funds through the Indiana Department of Transportation to cover 80 percent of the cost. The remaining 20 percent was covered by local tax dollars from the city.
The second phase of the project will see the reconstruction of the rest of West Second Street from Vehslage Road west to Springhill Road.
Luedeman said he wanted to extend the road improvements past Vehslage to benefit residents in newer housing additions in that area, such as The Crossing.
Both phases together are estimated to cost around $4.5 million, city engineer Nathan Frey said.
Construction on the second phase should begin in April 2017, Frey added.
Also attending Wednesday’s ribbon cutting at the intersection of Second Street and Rainie Court were representatives from INDOT and Milestone Contractors.
Resident Denise Wischmeier, who has lived on West Second Street for 13 years, said she is glad the first phase is finally done.
“We love it,” she said. “It looks great, and it’s wonderful to not have all the potholes. And the kids are enjoying riding their bikes on the sidewalk.”
Darrin Boas has lived in his home on West Second Street for more than 12 years and before that, the home was owned by his grandfather. Boas said the project has completely changed the area for the better, tying it to the surrounding neighborhoods.
“Even the appearance when you drive down the street, it looks like a planned, thought-out neighborhood, not a patched together hodgepodge of different homes, driveways and side streets,” he said.
Boas said instead of seeing an increase in traffic since the road reopened, he is actually seeing less than before it closed.
“The other nice thing is that it was closed so long, a lot of folks changed their daily route routine and traffic has yet to return,” he said. “It’s great.”
Christine Nowling said she travels West Second Street daily to get from Seymour to Brownstown and agrees the new road changes the whole look and feel of the area.
“It’s a great-looking neighborhood,” she said. “It’s great seeing kids out playing on the sidewalks and the people out walking now.”