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Mayor frustrated with INDOT efforts on Broad St.

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New Castle Mayor Greg York holds a broken piece of a newly-installed curb in his hand as he talked about his frustration with state construction efforts on Broad Street.
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New Castle Mayor Greg York shares his frustration with what he calls “shoddy work” by the Indiana Department of Transportation on Broad Street. He is pictured pointing to an area along a storm drain near 11th Street.
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York shows he canstick his foot into an area of Broad Street that was recently resurfaced.

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

New Castle Mayor Greg York stopped his truck, walked over to what was supposed to be a resurfaced area of Broad Street and stuck his foot into a hole on the road. A few minutes later, he picked up a piece of concrete from a recently-repaired curb that had fallen apart. He also showed work done at Broad and 23rd streets, where new concrete leaves no room for two-way traffic.

To describe York as unhappy with Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) efforts on Broad Street would be an understatement.

“They’re doing a job that’s not acceptable,” York said. “It looks like a patchwork job, not a new job. I’m not trying to be Carmel. I’m not trying to be Fishers. But I think the citizens of New Castle deserve this project to be done right. They shouldn’t have to settle for a piecemeal job.”

York said the project was planned in 2014 and supposed to start in 2016, but it didn’t get under way until last year, with a scheduled completion date this year. 

“The 1400 Plaza is going to be one of the nicest things ever to happen in New Castle,” York said. “With the 1400 plaza going in, why would we not want this street to look the best it can?”

In a Tuesday phone interview with The Courier-Times, INDOT Greenfield District Communications Director Chris Myers emphasized the project was still in progress and that some of the issues York raised – like the area in front of the courthouse and broken curbs, would, indeed be resolved soon. Others, however, were news to him.

“We haven’t received any official inquiry or documentation from the mayor or his staff,” Myers said. “I would really like to see documentation of these requests.”

Myers said the last contact he had with either York or Public Works Director Dave Barker was in April.

“The mayor has delivered letters to workers on the job, but he hasn’t contacted me or the deputy commissioner,” Myers said.

Some of the issues with curbs, Myers claimed, are not the result of poor construction efforts, but of semi traffic running over them.

Some of York’s other concerns included the way paving was done from 15th to 31st streets while 15th to Ind. 3 was just patched.

“I’m wanting asphalt all the way from 3 and 38 to 31st Street,” York said. “When you pass 15th Street and look at what they’ve done, it just makes you sick. At 12th and Broad, that apron is just atrocious. It’s already starting to fall apart.”

Myers responded by saying there’s a procedure involved in determining whether asphalt or concrete is the best material.

“We’re looking at roadway quality,” he said. “Where we patch and don’t patch is based on road history and the quality of the roadway structure.”

Another of York’s complaints is in front of Henry County’s historic courthouse.

“They just piece-mealed it,” York said. “They’re not even giving our courthouse the respect it deserves.”

Myers said that issue was being looked at as well as restoring the 23rd Street intersection with Broad to its original width

York gave the INDOT crews kudos for work done from 15th to 31st streets, particularly the sidewalks. But he stressed “the majority of our traffic is west of 15th Street.” He also expressed frustration at INDOT’s overall attitude.

“They’ve always told us what they’re going to do,” York said. “They’ve never asked for our input.”