At a meeting in the Salem High School Presentation Room, engineering sketches of State Road 56 East were taped and stretched from one end of the stage to the other — clearly not to scale and somewhat unintelligible to the general public — but aiming to give an idea of the scope of the project that will bring a wider State Road 56 from High Street to the East 56 entrance to the bypass.
Along the way, residents will be inconvenienced but will have new sidewalks, new retaining walls and new curbs as well as access to the new developments coming along East 56 — namely the largest Super Wal-Mart in Kentuckiana.
The widening of State Road 56 by the Seymour District of the INDOT is part of a larger project to prepare the area for the construction of the largest Wal-Mart Super Center in the Kentuckiana area. Temple and Temple received the bid for the $4.2 million project.
The Salem portion of this project is a complete reconstruction of the highway—including new sidewalks, curb ramps, retaining walls and storm sewer system.
According to Jason Uhl of Temple and Temple, the project is split into three phases.
“Phase one will begin soon and involve putting in a box culvert between Salem Hardwoods and Day Road,” he said. “That will close the road for about 3-4 weeks in March.”
Uhl said once that work was completed, the major portion of the work would involve reconstruction of East 56 from near Cornerstone Hotel back to High Street. He said the work would continue from April through September, weather permitting.
The road will be widened and new retaining walls will be constructed as well as new curbs and sidewalks.
“All the side streets will be closed,” said Uhl. “Those who live on 56 will be able to get to their house through back alleys or we will get them access to their house. The same goes for the businesses located along here. We will make sure they get traffic to and from their locations during the work.”
The rural Washington County scope of this construction calls for repairing and resurfacing S.R. 56—including shoulder widening, building passing blisters and replacement of a small drainage structures. Uhl said this work would take place from about Parkview Drive out to the East portion of the bypass.
A project by the City of Salem to move water and sewer lines would have created a dozen or so road closures along 56 this winter.
Uhl said some of those lines will be moved as part of the overall work to cut down on having to keep roads closed twice.
“We really are trying to main this go smooth,” he said. “But it’s going to be painful for a while. But it’s going to be nice for the next 40 years or so.”
Once the SR 56 reconstruction project is complete, the Wal-Mart project is expected to begin.
Uhl said when this project was created, the Wal-Mart project wasn’t part of it. “It’s not part of this project….this project was designed with Wal-Mart not being there. With Wal-Mart being part of this, there will need to be some things addressed.” He said that could include turning lanes and traffic lights added at a later date.