May 17, 2021

Downtown Construction Tackles Numerous Projects

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Market Street construction. - Jill Sheridan WFYI

Market Street construction.

Jill Sheridan WFYI

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works invested about $15 million in a few key projects -- in the heart of Indianapolis. That work resulted in the closure of four blocks along Market Street and numerous lanes on other blocks -- challenging many businesses and residents. WFYI's Jill Sheridan spoke with Department of Public Works Director Dan Parker about the construction and its goals.

Dan Parker: The Delaware Street project is interesting because we're doing a full reconstruction. We're taking out the trolley tracks, you've probably seen those out. We saw the railroad ties come out and totally reconstructing the street.

This is a joint project with IndyGo. So what's going to happen after this is done as the street will be completely rebuilt from curb to curb, from Maryland, to Vermont. When it's done, IndyGo will have a dedicated lane here on on Delaware to bring buses up the superstop stations will also be built that is a part of the build out of there, the transit network because of the number of buses that are going to be coming up Delaware Street, we felt the need that it was time to rebuild this completely.

Jill Sheridan: What does the superstop look like?

Parker: It's going to look very similar to their stations like for the for the Red Line, but it is a multi routes go by that one stop that you'll be able to go multiple directions, either, you know, north, east or northwest from that station that's going to be at Mass Ave the number one at Vermont.

Sheridan: So the street car that used to run along Delaware and that we've that we've now dug up... was that adding to you know, just the really bad wear and tear the Delaware Street?  

Parker: If we go back here, we can go out and you can see it. The tracks are popping through the the asphalt right here, every time we rebuilt Delaware street over the years. Because underneath there, there's wood and the trolley tracks, essentially under the under the asphalt, it never held. The time has come with what we're doing with IndyGo to just rebuild this thing and take it all out.

Sheridan: Now is there any preservation effort?

Parker:  We've had a lot of railroad buffs and trolley buffs ask us about the spikes in the tracks. The company that got awarded the contract is allowed to scrap the metal from the from the tracks and all that. So it's their responsibility to dispose it.

You know, the interesting thing about this project and then as we walk towards Market Street is you know, we're digging in the oldest parts of the city. We are running into some interesting parts of our historical infrastructure.

Sheridan: Yeah, what are you finding in that infrastructure?

Parker: Well, we found wooden water pipes, we have found brick encased. sanitary lines, we have found some of the vaults for some of the buildings are wood.

This project here from Market Street, it's a complete rebuild, it's going to completely change the way folks interact between the City County Building and the City Market. Our ultimate goal, this first segment is about $8 million. We're spending another $2.5 million down on West Market Street that's about to start our ultimate goal is to get this done all the way to the Statehouse, and then ultimately do Monument Circle. Monument Circle is a very costly one. The estimates are somewhere that it's probably $55 to $60 million, just to do the circle.

Sheridan: So $10 million, you know, to redo Market Street on both sides, will they sort of mirror each other? I know there'll be public space.

Parker: They'll mirror each other. You're going to see widen sidewalks here at the market, you're going to have diagonal parking, you're going to have a raised crosswalk between the City Market, so people slow down. It's going to be much better ADA accessibility, coming out of the city-county buildings there's going to be no stairs. It's a complete inconvenience for our friends at the City Market. But at the end of the year, they're going to have a completely rebuilt Delaware. And they're going to have a completely rebuilt Market.

Sheridan: Is now a good time. I mean, it seems like the timing is pretty good considering everything that downtown is going through?

Parker: Absolutely. And you know, we also have the Cultural Trail expansion, bidding this fall. That's going to be an $18 million expansion of the Cultural Trail from front of Lilly all the way down to Lucas Oil Stadium across South Street and then the the expansions on Indiana Avenue coming down to the Madame Walker and all the way out to 16 Tech.

But all these improvements, folks are gonna see as they come back downtown.

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