GOSHEN — Plans for the construction of a new C.R. 40 connector road from the Waterford Mills Parkway intersection at Ind. 15 northwesterly to the bridge over the Elkhart River on C.R. 40 took another step forward Tuesday during a meeting of the Goshen Redevelopment Commission.
At the meeting, commission members approved a resolution establishing the terms and conditions of an interlocal agreement between the city and Elkhart County needed in order to move forward with the project. The approval followed similar action by the Goshen City Council during its Jan. 7 meeting.
“This is basically an agreement between the county and the city, and council has approved it already. But since the bulk of the funding — if not all of the funding — is coming from Redevelopment, you need to approve it as well,” city attorney Larry Barkes said of the request. “It’s basically a connection between the overpass on the south side of town and the bridge at C.R. 40. The basic premise of this is that the county is going to pay for half of those costs, and the city is going to pay for half of those costs.”
Total cost for the project has been estimated at about $5 million.
According to Mark Brinson, community development director for the city, the county has already committed to doing a traffic analysis in the area targeted for the new connector road, with the goal being to use the results of the analysis to determine the best possible route for the project.
“We’ve asked them to come back to the commission when that study is done,” Brinson said. “There are several options here for how to make that connection, so we’ll know more about the final alignment of that road after that study is completed.”
The commission’s members agreed, and a motion to approve the requested interlocal agreement was approved unanimously.
Per the approved agreement, the county will serve as the lead agency for the project, and has agreed to be responsible for the overall administration of the project including, but not limited to, the following:
• Bidding the project in compliance with governmental requirements;
• Obtaining any governmental permits or approvals required to construct the project;
• Administering any contract or contracts awarded to a successful bidder or bidders on the project;
• Providing or contracting for engineering review and construction inspection services for the project to the extent that such are not the responsibility of the successful bidder or bidders;
• Maintaining the documents, contracts, notices and other records connected to the project;
• Providing the city with a financial summary of all funds needed for the project, all funds received for the project, and all funds ultimately expended on the project, including the reconciliation of the funding provided by the city and county;
• Providing or contracting for right-of-way acquisition services needed for the project; and
• Paying all costs and expenses associated with serving as the lead agency, and for all engineering services and right-of-way acquisition services, as such shall be incurred in connection with the project.
The resolution also notes the county will be responsible for providing or contracting for an engineer to serve as the design consultant for the project, who will furnish engineering and design work necessary for the project, including survey and geotechnical services.
As for the city’s participation in the agreement, the resolution outlines the city’s responsibilities as follows:
• The city shall review and approve the project’s engineering and design;
• The city shall pay its share of all costs and expenses associated with the engineering, right-of-way, land acquisition and construction needed for the project, to include necessary appraisals and review of appraisals, and shall cooperate with the county on the right-of-way acquisition for the project;
• The city’s participation shall include its share of all direct and indirect costs associated with the project, including utility relocation, change orders and compaction and materials testing; and
• The city shall appropriate and have available for use by the county all funds required of the city for its share of the direct or indirect costs with the understanding that the transfer of such funds to the county must occur either simultaneously or in advance of the project’s bidding, as the county is not in a position to advance the funds for all costs associated with the project.
While admittedly in the very early stages of the project, Barkes noted that at this time the current construction plan has the project kicking off sometime in early 2023 and being completed by Dec. 31, 2023.
In other business, commission members:
• Voted to re-elect Tom Stump as the commission’s president for 2020
• Voted to re-elect Vince Turner as the commission’s vice president for 2020
• Voted to re-elect Andrea Johnson as the commission’s secretary-treasurer for 2020
• Approved the sale of a city-owned property at 1215 Hickory St. to Habitat for Humanity of Elkhart County at a cost of $6,500.
• Approved a project coordination contract with the state for the planned College Avenue Auxiliary Lanes project, which involves the construction of two-way left turn lanes from U.S. 33 to the Norfolk-Southern Railroad. Total cost of the project has been estimated at about $5.5 million.