Stanley McNeverontime* is a bit peeved as he looks out over the arching span of the new Huntingburg railroad overpass.
It’s set to open up sometime this week after the City of Huntingburg’s Street Department finishes lining the newly surfaced 14th Street. Weather permitting, residents should be able to avoid the steady stream of trains through the city by Thursday or Friday at the latest.
But not everyone minds the trains.
“Now how am I going to explain being late to work, church and any random appointment I have,” he says pushing back his ballcap.
Stanley, who was running late for a chiropractic appointment, had decided to walk up the extension of the Heritage Trail that was added to the overpass project after Huntingburg was designated a Stellar Community. Peering through the attractive wooden fenceline running along the trail as it ascends the gently sweeping overpass, he’s just not sure how he’s going to cover for the 15 minutes he is regularly late for stuff.
“I mean, am I going to have to sit through the whole service at church now,” he says. “I don’t care for the opening songs that much and getting there a few minutes late usually allows me to avoid shaking hands with random people during the greeting.”
“The trains in Huntingburg were just easy,” he adds.
As he stares down the finished overpass, Stanley ruminates about the summer of 2017 when he was guaranteed at least two excuses for being late. “That bridgework in WITZ Bottoms, when they had the stoplight, man I could double up my excuses,” he says. “Until that one day they removed the stoplight at the bridge because the work was finished. Seems my boss read the news about it opening up to regular traffic. I was driving back from French Lick and figured I was in the clear for being at least 20 minutes late.”
If the overpass opens by Thursday, Stanley will likely have to be on time for a job interview he has scheduled at 10.
“I guess I’m going to have to start setting an alarm,” he sighs.
*This isn’t a real interview; more details regarding the overpass are below.
Residents are expected to have access to the new railroad overpass later this week after the lining of 14th Street is completed.
The new bypass was announced in 2013 with then Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann in attendance at the Old Town Hall in Huntingburg. The Indiana Department of Transportation project was pursued as a safety and economic development issue to address the transportation issues from the north and south side of the city.
The City of Huntingburg and Dubois County contributed $1 million each in funds as part of the 20 percent match for the project.
The overpass was approved as a new city street last week during a special council meeting. Along with the new street being added to the city’s inventory, the council approved the name recommended by the Mayor’s Youth Council. Progress Parkway veers off of Styline Drive rising over the railroad tracks before curving northeast and then intersecting with Chestnut Street where it feeds into 14th Street.
Traffic on Chestnut Street will encounter a two-way stop at the intersection in the near future.
North of 14th Street on U.S. 231, a new sign will tell southbound traffic if a train is on the tracks allowing drivers to turn onto 14th Street to take the overpass to avoid the train. Northbound drivers south of the train crossing will be able to see the train as they approach U.S. 64 and can turn west to head out to Styline Drive to use the overpass.
Along with the new corridor for vehicular traffic and the added security of allowing emergency vehicles to avoid the trains, the Heritage Trail also traverses the railroad tracks with the overpass allowing a safer way for the expanding neighborhoods on the north side of Huntingburg to connect with Niehaus Park and Fourth Street.
A special dedication ceremony is planned by INDOT for November 14 at 10 a.m.