Mayor calling downtown construction project unsafe and unsatisfactory

NEW CASTLE, Ind. – New Castle Mayor Greg York is not satisfied with a state road construction project going right through downtown.

The Indiana Department of Transportation started work on State Road 38 last year. Some sections are complete but Mayor York feels even those portions are already falling apart.

“To me this is an emergency; this portion right here is an emergency. This needs attention right away,” said Mayor York.

Mayor York says this past weekend he received a phone call from a biker who nearly had an accident when she rode over a huge hole in the middle of a so-called finished section.

“That’s not a little hole, I can stick my foot in the hole,” said Mayor York.

Newly paved handicap ramps replaced piles of gravel. Mayor York calls the new ramps a hazard. On one there’s a slope, on the other there’s a step.

“If there’s a blind person or an elderly person that can’t see well, that’s on a walker and they go over here, it’s going to be a lawsuit.”

Monday morning, the city attorney and Mayor York sent letters to INDOT letting them know if the repairs are left as is, it’ll be a “serious blow to the revitalization of downtown.”

“(We are) not trying to be Carmel, not trying to be Greenwood, not trying to be Fishers, I just want us to look the best that we can look,” said Mayor York.

The mayor feels that the project that’s supposed to improve curb appeal is doing the exact opposite. He doesn’t care if the fixes take an extra month or an extra year, he just wants it done.

“It’s embarrassing look and I just want it to be done right,” said Mayor York.

INDOT response:

Construction on SR 38 in New Castle started last year (2017) and has continued into this year as INDOT works to ensure that curb ramps along the roadway meet state and federal standards (specifically, ADA compliance regulations).

We expect for the project to be complete by June 30th this year, with the sidewalks and roadway open to the public (a majority of the roadway is currently open and we've been working with the city to ensure that the public has access to local businesses).

Regarding the mayor's concerns, he met with our Deputy Commissioner and I in April, requesting that the pedestrian ramps at SR 32 and Main Street have concrete set and that they be open and available to the public by Memorial Day Weekend for the city's parade. Our staff and the contractors accomplishing operations there have been working diligently since the start of May to meet this request and I was able to see earlier today that three out of the four ramps did, in fact, have concrete down and set (staff was working on the fourth ramp).

The mayor has not officially communicated any other concerns until this morning, when he provided a letter to construction staff on-site noting his displeasure. If there are any specific issues that we can look into, we'd be glad to resolve them. Prior to this project's completion, INDOT's staff and the contractor's staff will inspect the full site multiple times, working to ensure that no issues are found with the pavement or sidewalks in the region.