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By KEVIN KOELLING
CANNELTON – The status of Cannelton’s Seventh Street, undergoing improvement by the Indiana Department of Transportation since late spring, inspired spirited discussion at the city leaders’ December meetings.
Councilwoman Lynn Fulkerson, also a member of the city’s board of public works and safety, asked at that body’s Dec. 10 meeting about progress. Street Commissioner David Marsh said he’d been told by an INDOT representative the completion of work would be signaled by the removal of traffic signs that had been used to close the road, which is also Indiana 66. While the road had been re-opened and the signs had been moved to the sides of that and other roads, they remained in the area.
Marsh also said insufficient rain had fallen to determine if efforts were completely successful to prevent pooling that had occurred previously. He’d noted some improvement in front of the Yankee Peddler building, he said, but more was necessary. Another problem – lower-than-street-level manhole covers – were still an issue.
“I’m not happy with it,” Marsh said before promising to contact an INDOT engineer. “I believe it’s going to take tearing some stuff up and re-asphalting.” He added that in some cases, the state’s transportation agency has its contractors add asphalt to the covers, but he and Sewer Department Superintendent Jerry Ball noted the steel is up to 2 inches thick and already very heavy.
“It’s almost impossible to get them up,” Marsh said. “I’d rather they not do it that way.”
Some of the new asphalt had been shaved down to reduce the impact drivers feel when traveling across the manholes, he said.
“A lot of the semi-truck drivers tell me they’re not allowed to run over them,” Mayor Mary Snyder said later the same night, “and if they have to swerve to miss them, that’s dangerous.”
“Yeah, because you’d be in the middle of the road,” Fulkerson added.
Another item of contention, Fulkerson said during the council meeting that followed, was lighting along the highway. She noticed during the city’s Christmas parade the corner at Washington Street was very dark, she said. Councilman Melvin McBrayer said he thought the agency would replace any light poles it removed to complete the project. Snyder added that where lights were installed, they were hung on poles separate from those erected for street signs. In at least one location, the combination of poles, a utility box for the lighting and fire hydrants created an “obstacle course” effect. She asked about having street signs hung from traffic-light poles, she said, but was told that couldn’t be done for a couple of reasons.
Also, street signs were hung low enough that “if I got out and stood under (one) my hair would touch it,” she said.
After INDOT declares the work finished, “they’ll ask me to sign off on it,” Snyder said, “but if I’m not happy with it, I’ll never sign off on it.”
McBrayer, who previously served as mayor, said local leaders should be satisfied before state officials make a final determination they’ve done all they should do. The News was unable to contact the mayor’s office or Marsh Wednesday to ask if any further progress had occurred since the meetings.