IndyGo: Contractors looking forward to business from $96 million Red Line project

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Rendering of the College and 52nd St. Red Line station

IndyGo officials told dozens of contractors in late June at a pre-bid meeting at the Main Public Library Branch that it is looking forward to bid proposals by September for the $96 million, 13.5 mile Red Line.

Construction could start on the route from Broad Ripple to the University of Indianapolis by the end of the year if the IndyGo approves proposals in November, Fox 59 TV has reported.

“We have certain specifications in the bidding documents that will constrain how much of the street can be torn up for how much amount of time and what the impacts are on the individual property owners along the line,” IndyGo spokesman Bryan Luellen told the television station. “There are also protections for the maintaining of traffic so one of the standards that we will maintain is that traffic is still going to have to pass through these streets. So it’s up to the contractor to make sure these streets are passable during construction.”

IndyGo has proposed building 28 stations, some of them mid-street platforms, others paired curbside locations, along the route which will commit 60 percent of the path to dedicated lanes for the mass transit electric buses.

“We’re going to have one schedule and one goal for this project and that’s to deliver that project for this community on time and in budget,” said Kevin Campbell, vice-president of HNTB, which is overseeing the project.

Greg Medcalf of supplier Tiger Solutions International said his company could net a million dollar contract on the project.

“It’s going to be huge,” he said. “It was an interesting comment about the neighbors because we know they’re going to be affected so that’s going to be a real cautious area that will have to be worked through I am sure.”

However, while contractors and suppliers are looking forward to the project, some business owners along North College Ave. are saying the process isn’t fair, especially as IndyGo asserts eminent domain to seize some of their property.

“More than 40 small businesses and properties along College Ave. are pursuing their legal remedies. The taking of private property is unnecessary to improving bus service on College Ave.,” read a statement from Chuck Mack, owner of Moe & Johnny’s at 54th and College, and president of the College Avenue Business and Properties Organization.

“As members of the College Ave. Business and Properties Organization have learned about the unwieldy concrete hump-and-curb structure taking two lanes in the middle of College Ave. and the permanent loss of parking and driving lanes, the predatory taking of private property is the final straw.”

As an example, IndyGo has offered $800 offer to temporarily take control of a portion of Moe & Johnny’s parking lot, saying it will result in curb improvements. However Fox 59 reports Mack claims the curb work will permanently alter his parking spaces and the ability of customers to arrive at his bar and restaurant.

The Red Line project is budgeted at $96 million with Congress promising to provide $50 million under a federal transit grant program.

Meanwhile, IndyGo officials are preparing to launch public meetings next month on Phase II of the mass transit plan, the proposed Purple Line connecting Lawrence with East 38th Street and eventually the Red Line, with a projected $140 million cost.

Last November Marion County taxpayers voted themselves a transit tax of $100 per $40,000 of income annually to fund improvements to the bus system.

The collection of that annual $54 million begins Oct. 1 with IndyGo receiving access to the money in 2018.

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