The Indiana Dept. of Transportation recently awarded the Town of Zionsville a Community Crossings Matching Grant that town officials estimate will be valued at $500,000.
Town officials announced they will use the grant, which is awarded to select communities in Indiana annually, to fund four local road infrastructure projects, all of which are repair and resurfacing projects, with the exception of Irongate Drive, a complete reconstruction project.
Irongate Drive is a full reconstruction project that is a continuation of the systematic reconstruction of the old concrete streets in the subdivision. It also will include placement of new asphalt roads.
Mayfield Lane, Mulberry Street and Ash Street, from Mulberry Street to Maple Street, will be repaired and resurfaced, a process that includes subbase repairs to underlying material damage.
Projects are funded with a 50-50 match, meaning the town must evenly match grant funding with local funds. The grant is based on detailed estimates that Street & Stormwater Supt. Lance Lantz submitted in an application to INDOT.
The town opened bids for the projects April 9, and the final amount provided by INDOT will be based on contractor pricing determined through the bidding process. Lantz said said the grant would likely be valued close to $500,000.
Lantz said the grant will likely be less than INDOT originally estimated because the bids the town received were less, meaning contractors have indicated they can do the same amount of work but at a cheaper price. Lantz said the reduced prices for the projects could be due to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. He said contractors are pursuing work in an uncertain economy. The price of crude oil has plummeted during the pandemic due to a drop in demand and supply glut, something Lantz said also would likely contribute to lower price estimates because asphalt is a petroleum product.
The exact monetary amount will not be official until Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron signs final contracts.
“Every year, we base the amount of work we’re going to do on the amount that’s budgeted by the town council,” Lantz said. “We routinely make applications to the Crossings Grant in January. We try to coincide our projects’ starts because there are timing limitations with the grant. The grant cannot be used for projects that have already been awarded, so we must time our project awards so that it falls in line with the grant cycle.”
Each year, municipalities do not know whether they will receive a Community Crossings Grant similar grants. As a result, municipalities budget expenditures for projects without counting on outside grants.
“Receiving this grant allows more roadwork to be completed as it frees up the local funding (already) committed to these projects to be directed to other road repair and improvement needs,” Lantz said. “While it does not necessarily mean more road work will be initiated this year, it certainly adds to the reserves to be spent in future budget cycles or helps to supplement other current projects that may experience cost overruns.
“Regardless of the ultimate use of the newly available funding, any infusion of outside dollars to our local efforts is beneficial.”