City of Salem Mayor Justin Green talked about several upcoming projects on a recent episode of WSLM’s COFFEE CLUB morning show.

Green said the two projects included Phase 1 of a water line replacement project and road improvement project, both set for Main Street between the CVS/Papa John’s Intersection of Main and Hackberry all the way to the South Gate of the Square. 

The mayor said work had been done and will continue to be done in five areas — Main Street water improvements, water meter replacement and road improvements in 2023.

Green said wastewater improvements and the water treatment plant renovations had already been completed. 

“Together, these projects represent a substantial improvement to the city’s infrastructure systems,” said Green. “Each is much needed. Not only are they enhancing the quality of life for our residents today, they will position Salem for future growth residentially and business-wise.”

Many of the waterlines in Salem’s system are original and are more than decades old. The waterlines along Main Street between the stoplight and square will be improved beginning in early 2023.

The project will result in increased water pressure for optimal efficiency, increased capacity throughout the system, and advancements to fire flow capabilities.

“The City Council and Clerk-Treasurer have worked together to secure funding for this project,” said Mayor Green, noting the city was able to utilize a portion of federal American Recovery Act funds. “That means this project will be paid for without the need to borrow money.” 

Green said when the Indiana Department of Transportation was working on the State Road 56 West project, they were rebuilding everything in the intersection.

He said this included a new water line Tee.

“We’re going to go off the new T to the south gate of the square,” he said. “This will be an $800,000 project.”

He said the projects helps address aged infrastructure around the city. “The main trunk will be replaced. We still have wooden lined sewers that are functioning. These are very old and some are fine…some are not. The size….it’s undersized. And so we have several projects over the years to address these items.” 

Green said South Main will be done in another project. 

PHASE 1 of the highway project will follow the same path — from the CVS intersection to the south gate of the square.

“We’re getting a federal highway grant for road, curb, gutter, sidewalk upgrades. We have to get the water lines, storm sewers, done before that. This is going to a $1.5 million project and we have contributed pennies on the dollar for this,” said Green.

Green said the road project will start after the water line project is finished and wanted to emphasize to the public that the projects will not require road closures.

“There will be some flagging and some tight lanes, but Main Street will remain open,” said Green. “That goes to the merchants. I was very adamant we cannot block the merchants storefronts on the square.”

Also, a GIS-based system will be installed in 2023 that will mark, record, and digitize every valve, line, and fitting in the city’s water system. That will make any future issues very easy to pinpoint and quickly address.

Salem water customers received new water meters in another upgrade. That change included a digital, radio-based system which is more accurate and efficient than the previous one. 

Green said the City of Salem is making great strides when it comes to water utilities with the completion in recent years of both a new water treatment plant and upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility.

Both are highly efficient, state-of-the-art plants with enhanced capacity and reliability that replaced decades-old facilities. 

“Utility upgrades are important for our residents,” noted Mayor Green. “These new facilities have enhanced safety and ensure the city is in complete compliance with new wastewater treatment mandates, specifically involving phosphorus.

As part of the water projects, the Reservoir Hill water distribution booster station was improved which led to greater efficiency. Now, the city has five updated storage tanks throughout the community which is expected to meet needs for the next 50 years.

“I’m thankful for the community’s support; our applications keep getting awarded,” said Mayor Green, noting this level of improvement wouldn’t be possible without the state partnership. “INDOT is pleased with what we are doing in Salem.”

Mayor Green said the city has benefited greatly from a partnership with the state. This has allowed the city to undertake water and wastewater improvements on State Road 56 at the same time INDOT did road reconstruction and bridge replacement.

“None of these projects would have been possible without an active and involved city government committed to making Salem the best city it can be,” said Mayor Green. “We need to be aggressive and challenged always to improve our great city. Salem is headed in a great direction and I’m proud to work with all involved to continue moving into the future.” 

Green also said he would like to continue with more improvement at Lake Salina and said a Phase 2 of the water line project and street project will continue on Main Street in the next few years. 

He said those projects have been awarded and are in the engineering phases.