By SUZANNAH COUCH and ABIGAIL YOUMANS
Contracts for grant-funded paving projects throughout the county and town this year were recently awarded.
Milestone Contractors will pave Clay Lick and Helmsburg roads this year after the Brown County Commissioners accepted their $1.3 million bid and awarded them a contract to do the work earlier this month.
The paving will be funded by $1 million in Community Crossings grant funding through the Indiana Department of Transportation. The grant requires a match of 25 percent of the money awarded, up to $1 million.
The commissioners received bids from four different contractors in December to pave both roads, totaling a little over 10 miles. Contractors submitted bids to do the roads as individual and combination projects. Milestone’s total bid of $1,361,255.64 to pave both roads was about $25,000 less than the second lowest bid from E&B Paving at $1,386,800.
The bid was accepted at the Jan. 5 commissioners meeting and the contract was approved on Jan. 19.
Highway Superintendent Mike Magner said on Jan. 19 that the county could receive the grant funding from the state in August or September to do the paving, but that paving would get started as soon as possible after that. He said he had spoken with Milestone about getting the project on their schedule so that everything is “ready to go” when the funding arrives.
In November, it was announced that the county had received $1 million again from the state grant program. The Town of Nashville also received $287,782.50.
The town plans to pave sections of 14 different streets within its limits using the grant money, including Artist Drive from State Road 135 to Main Street; the west end of Franklin Street to Johnson Street; all of Pine Hills Drive from 135 North; and all of Wells Drive.
A total of 2.32 miles will be paved using the $287,782.50 in Community Crossings funding.
The Nashville Town Council held a special meeting on Jan. 14 to open bids for their Community Crossings projects. The bid from Milestone was approved at the Jan. 20 meeting for $281,294. It was the lowest of four bids and was approximately $10,000 lower than the second lowest bid from All Star Paving, which was $291,509.13.
Town Administrator Phyllis Carr said last week that the town has requested that all paving be done by Sept. 30, 2022, just before the start of the busy October tourist season in town.
Magner said on Jan. 5 that INDOT was preparing to start taking applications for grant funding this year. There are two opportunities for counties, cities and towns to apply for the money. Last year, the county applied for funding in the second round.
Magner said on Jan. 19 that in the next round of Community Crossings grant applications the county may apply to do a bridge project in the county instead of applying for all paving projects.
He said based on the county’s tax rate the cumulative bridge fund generates enough money to “barely do one project a year on those funds.”
“We have the work and we have people capable of doing it, we even have our some of own staff to do some of the work, but then it is just coming up with the funding to pay for it,” he said.
In 2018, a report by USI Consultants stated that more than $9 million worth of bridge work needed to be done in the next nine years. At that time, Magner said the total price tag is likely to go down because some projects will be done locally and not to federal standards.
At the Jan. 5 meeting, Magner also reported to the commissioners that all of the locally funded paving projects last year were complete with the exception of painting lines on the roads and paving Four Mile Ridge Road.
On Jan. 19, Magner said that his crews had not been out to patch Four Mile Ridge Road for the winter, but that patching would happen within the next two weeks. Paving on Four Mile Ridge Road to be funded with local funding is also expected to happen this spring and is part of contract awards the commissioners made last fall.
The commissioners awarded contracts to pave a little over 12 miles. Paving done last year included: One mile of the Old State Road 46 “business loop” in Gnaw Bone; one mile of Old 46 from Nashville to the Brown County State Park; nearly a mile of Oak Grove Road off of Country Club Road; three miles of Bear Wallow Hill Road; over two miles of Three Notch Road; and over one mile of Ford Ridge Road.
According to a draft road improvement plan for 2021-2023 that Magner presented last year, more than 20 miles of additional county roads will be paved this year using local funds from the highway department’s budget.
Roads on the schedule for this year — which is subject to change based on road conditions — include portions of: Lanam Ridge Road (4.15 miles); Woodland Lake Road (2 miles); Hurdle Road (2 miles); Spearsville Road (2 miles); Three Story Hill Road (3.4 miles); Parkview Road (1 mile); Hornettown Road (3.5 miles); and Owl Creek Road (2.5 miles).