New street repair plan shortens city's to-do list

Published: .
Updated: .
Mayor Greg Ballard and Indianapolis City-County Council members are proposing a leaner Rebuild Indy 2 plan to fix the city's worst street problems.

The $300 million dollar plan is about $50 million less than originally proposed. The combination of city bonds and federal grants needs council approval. Even if the council goes along, there won't be nearly enough money to fix all the city's rough roads, bridges and sidewalks.

On the far east side there's new pavement and new sidewalks. People living along Gibson Avenue say haven't seen anything like this in more than 40 years.

Randy Smith watched the paving equipment and construction crews work their way down the block.

"I don't know how much it is costing the city," he said, "but it is about time we are actually seeing them do work in the neighborhood."

Theirs is one of the few streets the city can afford to fix up with up with its yearly street budget. Homeowners like Mike Raymond know they are the envy of others around the city.

"Okay, sure, but it takes money to do that," he said. "The city has a lot of things that need to be done."

The city's to do list is a billion dollars long. The $24 million recently approved by the council for emergency repairs is a small start, however the road construction season is almost a third over. It will be months before that money hits the streets.

Streets like 49th Street in the Butler Tarkington neighborhood and scores of others on the emergency resurface list won't be resurfaced list until early fall. Many will have to wait until spring.

DPW Director Lori Miser explained, "We push it as long as we can and we hope to go to December 1, but last year hit us early. We were done in the middle of November."

The city has a much longer list of streets, sidewalks and bridges needing repair. The mayor's $300 million plan is $50 million less than he wanted. That means some projects will be cut from the list.

"These decisions are based on technical qualifications," Miser said.

They are also based, Miser says, on discussions with community leaders and City-County Council members, elected officials who no doubt will be getting an earful from voters.

Councilmembers don't want to disappoint their voters. Neighborhoods already on the list that want to stay there ought to let them and the Mayor's Action Center know.

DPW Major Projects list