Fifth Street improvements in North Vernon set to begin in May

The Stellar Community Project to improve Fifth Street in North Vernon will soon be underway.

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) says that reconstruction of Fifth Street, between U.S. Highway 50/Walnut Street and the CSX railroad tracks at O & M Avenue, is scheduled to begin the first week of May. INDOT Spokesman Harry Maginity says that officials met with contractor representatives at Seymour District offices Friday morning to discuss launching, what he called, the final Stellar Community project in North Vernon.

Maginity says that MAC Construction of New Albany is the prime contractor for this $798,594 project. He says that work will include full-depth pavement replacement, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant sidewalks, a new water main and irrigation system, decorative lighting and landscaping.

INDOT says this .057-mile section of Fifth Street will close in early May for up to 120 days while old pavement is torn out and new asphalt lifts are laid. Officials note that, even though the road will be closed, pedestrian access will be maintained on both sides of the street.

Maginity says that when vehicular traffic is restored, construction will shift to the east side of Fifth Street. There, he says that sidewalks, curbs and lighting will be put in place. After that, Maginity says that the west side of the street will get new sidewalks, curbs and decorative lighting. Then, he says that landscape crews take over before contractors finish the project by resurfacing the Fifth Street dogleg intersection at U.S. 50.

North Vernon was named a Stellar Community in 2011. Work to attain that designation was a a major undertaking for the city and a source of pride for former Mayor Harold “Soup” Campbell. In an interview that took place in late December, just a few weeks before he stepped away from office, Campbell said that being recognized as a “Stellar Community” helped to “turn the city around” and allowed it to get some much-needed infrastructure work done at a fraction of what it would cost had the city taken on the expense itself. Mayor Campbell said on Friday night that Stellar Communities has helped to improve the quality of life for all North Vernon residents. He added that his job as Mayor was to do what he could to improve the city for the benefit of all residents and that Stellar has helped push things in that direction.

INDOT says that other Stellar projects in North Vernon include: The Muscatatuck Trail, which provided a 10-foot-wide asphalt path to link U.S. 50/Buckeye Street and S.R. 7/State Street with a parking lot at the county park; Construction for downtown facade improvements; Streetscaping; Short Street Plaza revitalization; and Irish Hill revitalization.

Officials say that funding for these projects have been provided by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs and INDOT.