Numerous Bloomington improvement projects underway

BLOOMINGTON – Numerous infrastructure improvement projects are underway this season to advance community goals, including safety, sustainability, accessibility, equity, economic vitality, and quality of life in Bloomington.  The City will provide regular public updates on a range of these improvements as they progress.

Recover Forward Sidewalk Replacement Project

As part of Mayor Hamilton’s Recover Forward initiative, a $250,000 package of sidewalk replacement projects will focus investments in low- and moderate-income areas to improve ADA curb ramps, bike lane and bike path pavement, and driveway and alley entrances, and repair sidewalk damage caused by street trees improving overall walkability in the areas that see high volumes of pedestrian traffic. Currently, repair and replacement are taking place on the south side of West Sixth Street from North Elm Street to North Fairview Street.  Improvements at this location will encompass 2374 feet of sidewalk on both sides of the street, including 12 ADA ramps, eight driveway entrances, and six alleyway entrances.  A 327-foot section of sidewalk along the east side of Elm Street from West Fourth Street to West Kirkwood Avenue is also slated for improvement, which will include two ADA ramps and two driveway entrances.  The selection of both sites was based on data from the 2018 Pavement Condition Report of the city’s 234 miles of the street network as well as data collected via staff site visits.

@ Fairview Westside Poured .jpg
New sidewalk installed on the south side of West Sixth Street at Fairview.

West 14th Street Sidewalk Project

Construction is also underway to install a sidewalk along the north side of West 14th Street between North Madison Street and North Woodburn Avenue, providing pedestrian connectivity between College Avenue and Madison. Traffic on Woodburn is being restricted to one lane and directed by flaggers to allow space for construction activity (which is also impacting some on-street parking in the project vicinity).  Prioritized by the City Council Sidewalk Committee, the project is being funded through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in addition to City funds.  More information is available here.  

Lower Cascades Streambank Stabilization and Trail Extension Project

Since March 2020, Old State Road 37 through Lower Cascades Park has functioned as a bicycle- and pedestrian-only trail.  A 0.6-mile segment of the road between the Lower Cascades Park playground and the IMI quarry entrance is closed to motorized vehicles during this pilot road conversion project.  This week, the road through Lower Cascades Park is closed to ALL users–pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists–as a safety measure during tree removal in the park.  Twenty-three trees are being removed in preparation for a significant project to stabilize the streambank to reduce erosion, provide easier access to the creek for recreational purposes, construct an accessible boardwalk to the Cascades waterfall, and extend the Cascades Park Trail north through the park. Before the project’s estimated start in May, CBU will complete an unrelated utility project at the southern end of Lower Cascades Park.  Once the utility project begins (in late March or early April), half of the converted road on the southern end of the park will be closed to allow for traffic related to the utility project.  The playground and the Sycamore Shelter (at the corner of Old State Road 37 North and Clubhouse Drive) will remain open during construction, although the parking lot on the south side of the playground, where the restroom building is located, may close periodically and temporarily to facilitate the safe movement of large equipment.

More information about the pilot road conversion and opportunities to provide feedback about the project is available here

Jackson Creek Trail Phase II Project

Tree removal related to utility relocation began this week on the Jackson Creek Trail Phase II project, which will provide connections to Jackson Creek Middle School, Sherwood Oaks Park, Childs Elementary School, Southeast Park, and the Goat Farm property. Most of the trees being removed are along the eastern side of High Street from the roundabout north to Arden Drive.  Work will be timed so that improvements of the multi-use path along High Street adjacent to Childs Elementary School are completed in time for the start of the school year. The Jackson Creek Trail extension to Rhorer Road is expected to follow and wrap up in 2022.  The Engineering department has presented the trail plan to the City’s Tree Commission and urban forester for review and approval.  Information about tree removal is available here.

Discovery Parkway 

Last week the City’s Board of Public Works (BPW) awarded a $523,000 construction contract (to Crider & Crider) to install a multiuse path along the north side of East Discovery Parkway, the newly named access road from the S.R. 45/46 Bypass to the IU Health Regional Academic Health Center.  With construction anticipated to begin in April, the project will also resurface a section of East Discovery Parkway and install new curbs. The project is funded primarily by IU Health to support the new hospital and will be completed before the hospital opens later this year.  More information about this project is available here.

17th & Dunn Intersection Improvement 

Also last week, the BPW awarded an approximately $1.3 million construction contract for improvements to the intersection of 17th and Dunn Streets (to E&B Paving) to replace traffic signal equipment and make geometric improvements to the intersection. The expeditious completion of this project will require the full closure of the intersection for up to two months this summer, starting after May 10.  More information is available here.

Hidden River Pathway Project

Despite recent rain, the Hidden River Pathway Project is progressing with the replacement of the network of culverts that carry the Campus River (formerly the Jordan River) from Dunn Meadow on the Indiana University campus southwest under downtown Bloomington to 1st Street and College Avenue, where it reappears as Clear Creek. Over the next couple of weeks, crews will continue to pour concrete for the new “cast-in-place” box culvert on South Washington Street between Smith Avenue and East Second Street, and working on the relocation of sanitary pipes and structures continues on South Lincoln Street.  The eastern side of Lincoln remains closed during installation.  Traffic will continue to flow on the western side of the street. 

On weekday afternoons, especially between 3 and 4 p.m., motorists are asked to avoid using South Washington Street between East Third Street and Smith Avenue.  As school dismissal and pickup from The Project School can create traffic congestion during this time, motorists are asked to find an alternate route.

The playground and four trees at The Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park (Third Street Park) were removed in February to accommodate the culvert replacement.  The playground and amenities will be restored upon completion of the project in that area, anticipated in late 2021. The City’s Urban Forester continues to monitor the health of trees in the park, as they are susceptible to construction impacts.  As the parking lot on the east side of the Allison-Jukebox Community Center is serving as a staging area for the project, public parking there is limited to a few spaces for the duration of the project.

Over the next two years, the City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) and its contractor, Milestone Contractors, LLP will be reconstructing 1,829 feet of culverts. In addition to stormwater improvements, some reconstruction of sanitary sewers and water main infrastructure will be simultaneously completed to support Bloomington’s vibrant downtown.  More information, maps, and updates about the Hidden River Pathway Project are available here.

When encountering these improvement projects or others, motorists are asked to travel slowly, cautiously, and distraction-free through every construction zone for the safety of the workers, pedestrians, and other motorists.