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GOSHEN — It looks like the city will take possession of Main Street from the state as early as next week, according to officials close to the plan.

Leslie Biek, civil traffic engineer for the city, provided a brief update on the planned transfer of Main Street to the city during a meeting of the Goshen Redevelopment Commission Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ve received notice from INDOT that the transfer of Main Street from Pike Street to Madison Street and Madison from Main to the new U.S. 33 will transfer to the city on April 19,” Biek told commission members Tuesday. “So Main Street and Madison will be ours starting on the 19th.” 

According to Biek, the transfer of ownership is directly related to the recently completed U.S. 33 realignment project.

Also known as the North Connector route, the $18.9 million realignment project involved rerouting U.S. 33 from in front of Goshen High School at Monroe Street, along the Ninth Street corridor to Pike Street. The project also included the placement of bridges over the Marion Branch of the Norfolk Southern rail line, Lincoln Avenue and Cottage Avenue, allowing Goshen drivers to cross town without being delayed by trains.

As part of the Main Street ownership transfer, Biek noted that Third Street will in turn be transferred to INDOT, and thus be relabeled as the new Ind. 15.

“The U.S. 33 bypass was put in to try and get traffic off of Main Street and to help traffic get through town quicker without as many lights. So it’s been a long time coming, and been in the works for a while,” Biek explained. “As it was, Main Street had both U.S. 33 and Ind. 15 on it, so the goal was to try to separate them to try and ease traffic a little bit.”

Biek noted that NIPSCO has already begun the process of updating the signage along the Main Street and Third Street corridors, with all signage changes expected to be completed by the April 19 changeover.

DOWNTOWN MAKEOVER

According to Biek, once Main Street is officially in the city’s hands, work on a number of planned changes and renovations can begin, all with the goal of bringing Main Street more in line with the city’s vision for the corridor.

“We’ll need to do some pavement work, because the pavement is failing right now. So we’ll have to pave,” Biek said of the plan. “And the question that we’ve put out there to business owners downtown and to the public was what amenities they would like to see once the transfer of ownership occurs, and angled parking and reducing the number of travel lanes and reducing the number of stop lights came up. And since we’re already going to be paving, we are also planning on doing angled parking and taking the lanes to two lanes on Main Street.”

As for Madison Street, Biek said there are plans to repave the roadway, though few other changes are likely due to budgetary constraints. 

“We’re still working on the funding for that, but no changes are in the works right now in terms of traffic,” Biek said. “We might look at the signals to see if they are still warranted, but we haven’t considered that yet.”

Given that the final design for the downtown makeover is not yet finalized, Biek said the city plans on hosting a number of public meetings over the next couple of months aimed at keeping the public abreast of what the city has planned for the corridor and gathering input prior to the design’s finalization.

“At this point though, it would mostly just be a paving project with possible restriping," Biek said. "We don’t have enough budgeted to do anything major at this time."

As for when the work on the project is slated to begin, Biek said she is hoping for a mid-summer kickoff, likely around late July or early August.

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