The rural, sleepy southeastern Indiana city of Greensburg — previously known best for a tree growing out of the top of the city's courthouse — is experiencing a construction boom. Spurred by the construction of Honda Motor Co.'s $550-million automobile manufacturing plant, Greensburg is undergoing a major transformation that will result in a new I-74/U.S. 421 interchange and other area transportation enhancement projects.
In addition to the highway work, current construction projects in the city include a new Hampton Inn & Suites and The Napoleon State Bank's new Greensburg branch on U.S. 421; a new wastewater treatment plant on S. Broadway Street; and new residential development.
Four key highway improvement projects in Greensburg and Decatur County will allow for further economic growth and development in the area near the 1,700-acre site of Honda's new plant. They include the $850,000 relocation of County Road 300 North, which was completed by Dave O'Mara Contractor Inc., North Vernon, Ind.; two ongoing projects involving the new interchange and the reconstruction of U.S. 421/Old Michigan Road; and a final contract — slated to be let in the spring — for additional work on County Road 250.
According to the Indiana Department of Transportation's (INDOT) Seymour District, the two ongoing improvement projects — totaling approximately $53 million — are being constructed by Valley Asphalt Corp., Cincinnati, and Milestone Contractors, L.P., Columbus, Ind. Valley Asphalt Corp. is reconstructing U.S. 421/Old Michigan Road and improving portions of County Road 250 under a $25.8-million contract with INDOT. Meanwhile, Milestone Contractors is responsible for the new, $26.9-million I-74/U.S. 421 interchange — a partial cloverleaf interchange with four slip ramps — and associated earthwork, road and bridge operations.
Construction crews and numerous pieces of equipment dot either side of I-74 as work proceeds on both projects. "There is a significant amount of people on-site," says Jason Bunselmeier, P.E.., area engineer for INDOT's Seymour District. "At any given time, we have concrete, dirt, stone, pipe, asphalt, and multiple bridge crews here all at one time."
According to Bunselmeier, contractors have taken advantage of this year's dry weather in the Midwest to push the projects forward. "The dry weather has really helped us out," he says, "and we plan to wrap up construction next year."
Bunselmeier anticipates that Valley Asphalt will complete its project in late May 2008, and Milestone's work will be completed by late June next year. "These projects are unique because of the timeframes — we have pretty tight deadlines, which need to correspond somewhat to the opening of the Honda plant," he says.
Construction of Honda's new facility, its sixth auto plant and 14th major plant overall in North America, is quickly taking shape. Production of fuel-efficient, four-cylinder vehicles at the plant is expected to begin in fall 2008.