Common council learns about roadway improvements planned for year

The Huntington Common Council learned about roadway improvements planned for the year during its meeting on Tuesday, April 9.

Anthony Goodnight, the city’s director of public works and engineering services, gave the board an overview of those improvements, which will consist of paving, crack sealing and pavement marking application. Additionally, one street, St. Emily Drive, will be reconstructed, and the historic Works Progress Administration culvert under West Park Drive, near Bartlett Street, will receive improvements.

At present, the waterflow through the culvert exceeds its capacity, stated Goodnight. To fix that, the culvert will be expanded and extended, he said.

It will be an expensive project, said Goodnight, carrying an estimated price tag of $699,849. One of the main reasons for the high cost, he explained, is because the distinct appearance of the culvert will be preserved.

“We’re trying to mimic the stone look that is currently there,” he said.

When the project eventually gets underway, West Park Drive will be closed near the site of the culvert. A detour will be set up, said Goodnight.

As for the paving and crack-sealing work that will occur, Goodnight explained how he and his team identify streets that need attention. Every street in the city has been assigned a grade, he said. These grades range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing a brand-new street and 1 representing a street in dire need of repair. Grades are assigned based on a formula that considers the quality of a street, curbs, gutters and more.

These grades are contained in a computer program designed by Ben Bond, GIS coordinator, and Adam Cuttriss, assistant director of public works and engineering services. Grades were first assigned in 2016 and updated in 2018. The program serves as the city’s guidebook for determining which streets require care.

“We pick streets based off the numbers, because data doesn’t lie,” said Goodnight.

Council President Charles Chapman praised the system Goodnight and his team have in place.

“I receive a lot of comments about why we pave one place and not another,” he said. “It’s good to know that we have an asset-management program in place. We’re managing the assets. We’re making evaluations based on data.”

To help fund the planned roadway improvements, Goodnight requested an additional appropriation of $350,000 from the Motor Vehicle Highway Fund. Council granted the request.

The additional funding will help supplement the $842,746 the city recently received from the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Community Crossings Matching Grant program.

In other business, council approved the city’s amended comprehensive plan. The range of updates to the plan were conceived of over the course of a couple of months this winter, said Bryn Keplinger, director of the city’s Community Development and Redevelopment Department. The updates, he said, consisted largely of imputing new data, in areas such as demographics and school enrollment, and checking off projects that were laid out in the plan during its previous revision in 2012 and completed in the intervening years.

To view the amended comprehensive plan, visit www.huntington.in.us/city, click on the “Departments” tab, followed by “Community Development & Redevelopment.” The updated plan can then be accessed by clicking on the heading “2019 Comprehensive Plan Update.”