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Slow but steady

City’s Riverwalk construction
waiting on INDOT approval

Federal transportation money to fund
riverwalk completion when design is final

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(January 2008) – The Madison Riverfront Development Committee has met the $300,000 matching funds required for $1.2 million in grants to complete the sidewalk along the Ohio River on Vaughn Drive. Construction will begin when Indiana Department of Transportation officials approve the design plans.

Madison Riverfront

Photo by Don Ward

The Madison Riverfront project has
added beauty to the city’s riverfront
but there is more to come,
committee members say.

The entire riverfront development project has spanned nearly 20 years and been comprised of several phases, including the construction of Lamplighter Park and the concrete tiers that step down to the river. The latest phase is being funded by $700,000 and $500,000 in federal transportation enhancement money channeled through the Indiana Department of Transportation. This phase of the project should extend the brick and concrete walkway from Vernon Street in the west to the Milton-Madison bridge and just beyond in the east.
Madison Riverfront Development Committee President Gayle Crozier said the matching funds were met a year ago and are in an account at the bank. Once the design is approved, the grant money will be released for construction.
Original walkway plans called for a longer sidewalk past the bridge. Unfortunately, however, material costs have gone up drastically since the grants were awarded over three years ago, according to Crozier. That cut into the length of the proposed walkway.
He also said officials were working on right-of-way for a piece of property that was included in the original idea for the longer walkway.
“We have been held up by the final approval stage,” said Crozier. “Once that gets resolved, bids can be let and construction eventually started.”
Engineer Bernie Hauersperger, of FPBH. Inc., the engineering company for the project, said the holdup in the approval process is due to some unique design issues that are rarely seen on other trail projects of this nature. In order to have green space at Lamplighter Park, a terraced embankment has been designed which includes some soil tiebacks. “It’s a more complicated design than usual for trails of this nature because of several retaining walls that have to be put in at the overlooks,” he said.
Hauersperger is confident the design will meet with approval. He said the normal design approval for trails can be days, but Madison’s Riverwalk proposal has been in the approval stage for months.
After the design is approved, Hauers-perger said Indiana Department of Transportation officials will then let bids for construction for four months. After than, construction on the walkway could take another six months. “Each month we are delayed, that is one more summer month taken away from the actual construction,” he said.
Crozier said the Madison Riverfront Development Committee is still taking donations for the project. The first three phases of the project, which totaled over $400,000, were completed with local donations.

• Anyone interested in purchasing a brick or a bench for the Madison Riverwalk should contact the special projects department at Madison City Hall at (812) 265-8322 or the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at (812) 265-2956.

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