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July 30, 2013

$260,000 needed for 18th Street improvements

Call for more discussion amid desire for quick action on improvements

An appropriation for the scaled-down 18th Street improvement project up for a vote in Logansport City Council Monday will likely be accompanied by a debate on whether the money should be spent right away so as to appease the state and consultants or delay it to allow time for more discussion.

The city’s previous administration, under former Mayor Mike Fincher, had originally planned an improvement project on 18th Street that would span south from Broadway and include a roundabout at the intersection of 18th and Main streets for a price tag estimated to be between $15 million and $20 million.

Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin and the current city council have since scaled down the project, nixing the roundabout and deciding to improve 18th Street south of the bridge by widening the road, redesigning the intersection at Main Street, adding turn lanes at intersections and improving drainage by repairing culverts.

At a recent meeting of city council’s finance committee, Franklin said the intersection at 18th and Main would become larger and that Stoney Pike would likely become a one-way. Infrastructure for a signal light would also be implemented at 18th and Main, he said, with the possibility of running tests to determine whether or not to replace the intersection’s current setup as a four-way stop.

“They could use it for a while and then re-evaluate,” Logansport City Councilman Joe Buck said of the traffic light.

Franklin said the project would likely start in about a year, if the council approves it.

Franklin added the project would accommodate the expected increased traffic from the Hoosier Heartland Highway nearby. He said the recent arrival of Sagamore Warehouse LLC on Stoney Pike has already led to 200 extra trucks a week coming through the area.

The $1.8 million project would be funded through a match grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation, or INDOT. City Council will vote Aug. 5 whether to appropriate its $260,000 share. Cass County officials have pledged to contribute $100,000 as well.

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