Posted on

Officials unveil high-cost, 20-year road improvements

Harrison County residents were given a chance to view aerial photographs detailing proposals — and that’s all they are at this stage, officials stressed — for 10 major road improvements estimated at more than $100 million.
Members of the audience were encouraged to voice their opinions and thoughts about these proposals during the special commissioners’ meeting Monday evening.
Darin Duncan, county engineer, said he was pleased with the turnout at the meeting, and said that good questions were asked and some good comments made.
“We want to hear from the public about this matter and encourage county residents to call me or any of the commissioners with their comments,” Duncan said.
At the meeting, photographs illustrating the projects were displayed in the hallway of the courthouse before and after the meeting, giving people a chance to view the plans up close and ask questions of the engineering companies’ representatives.
The information meeting was a chance for representatives of American Consulting Inc. of Indianapolis, and Bernardin, Lochmueller and Associates Inc. of Evansville, to present their proposals to county residents and gather information about which projects residents think are most important and should be undertaken first.
As people filled the commissioners’ room, it was noted that the proposals make up a long-range transportation plan for the county, to be undertaken during the next 10 to 20 years, and that the individual projects were being presented in no particular order of importance.
The projected combined cost of all the projects being proposed for Harrison County is expected be in excess of $100 million.
It was also explained that the projects could be undertaken with the help of federal funding, which is derived from gasoline taxes. The federal money will pay 80 percent of the cost of construction, but will not cover costs related to engineering design or acquiring the land needed for rights-of-way.
Michael Koyak, a project manager with American Consulting, presented a detailed description of his company’s proposals for a new interchange at Interstate 64 and Gethsemane Road west of S.R. 135 expected to help ease traffic congestion at I-64 and S.R. 135. The four proposals he presented ranged in price from $10 million to $24 million.
Other proposed roadway improvements were presented by Carl Camacho, a project manager with Bernardin, Lochmueller and Associates. His proposals included building a new road from S.R. 64 to the existing Crandall-Lanesville Road and reconstructing Crandall-Lanesville Road into a four- or five-lane section to connect with I-64 to lessen traffic on S.R. 64 through Georgetown, where about 4,500 vehicles travel daily.
Also being considered is the relocation of Georgetown-Lanesville Road (Wissman Drive) and Crandall-Lanesville Road south of the Lanesville interchange. The cost of this project was estimated to be about $10.5 million.
Camacho presented a proposal to rebuild Corydon-Ramsey Road between S.R. 62, near Old Forest Road to Quarry Road, into a three- or five-lane road to allow traffic to by-pass S.R. 135. The cost estimate was about $15 million. He said an estimated 3,300 cars per day use that section of road.
A connector road is being proposed between S.R. 337 and S.R. 62. It is expected to be needed as that area develops and especially if a new hospital is located there. The connector road is expected to cost about $4.7 million.
Another project involves straightening two 90-degree turns in Heidelberg Road between S.R. 135 to Old S.R. 135 and extending Heidelberg Road cross-country to connect with Country Club Road leading into the Corydon school campus. This project is being proposed as a joint venture between the city and the county, and is estimated to cost around $4.4 million.
Two east-west roads being proposed in the southern part of the county would extend Watson Road from S.R. 135 to S.R. 11 at a projected cost of $17.5 million, and another proposal would improve Lake Road and Buck Creek Valley Road from S.R. 135 to New Middletown-Elizabeth Road at a cost of about $20 million.
Improvements proposed to Shiloh and Fogel roads from S.R. 337 to Corydon-New Middletown Road are expected to cost close to $8 million, and a new connector from S.R. 135 to Big Indian Road, cutting through the Landmark Way area, is priced at about $10.3 million.
A three-phase project improving Corydon-New Middletown Road from S.R. 62 to Montgomery Road, New Middletown-Elizabeth Road to Elizabeth-New Middletown Road is expected to cost between $30 and 35 million.

Finally a proposal was presented to extend Quarry Road from North Gethsemane Road to S.R. 337 at a cost of $3 million.
Commissioner Terry L. Miller, eluding to riverboat funds the county receives from Caesars, said, “The county is fortunate to have the income now that allows us to be able to conduct studies like this without dipping into our road construction funds.”
Duncan said no decision has been made on starting dates for any of the projects, and for now the proposals are just “lines on paper.” He said he and the county commissioners will be sorting through the 10 proposals and will evaluate each one on its own merits.
In the meantime, the three commissioners are seeking public input and desire comments from county residents during this planning stage. Questionnaires seeking public comment were distributed at the meeting, and copies can be obtained in the Harrison County Engineering Dept. at the courthouse, telephone 738-4600.