A well-needed makeover of Vermillion's Main Street, primarily in the downtown area, is nearly complete, and in the meantime attention is being given to other city streets in need of repair and resurfacing.
A crew from SealPros, Inc. of Harrisburg completed milling, or removing, the asphalt surface of Main Street between Austin and Dakota streets.
This week, that same crew was kept busy applying a fresh coat of asphalt to invigorate what had been a somewhat worn road in the heart of the city.
"The workers milled off a couple of the inches of asphalt that was there," City Manager John Prescott said, "down to the concrete base, and this week they started putting down a new asphalt overlay. That should largely be completed this week, and then they will still have the striping to do, the parking stalls, that sort of thing, which they should be following up on in the following week."
While local retailers, the Chamber of Commerce, the city and other groups have all worked in recent years to promote Vermillion's downtown and make esthetic improvements to the area – including streetscape upgrades and the addition of two pocket parks – not much more than simple routine maintenance has been given to Main Street itself over the years.
"It's been about 15 to 20 years since we've last had this sort of major improvement to a downtown street," Prescott said. "We have done chip sealing from time to time to the surface of the street, but after so long, you can't keep building that up. You have to take the street level back down, and that is the project that we are undertaking this year."
Other Vermillion streets scheduled to receive similar work this summer include National Street, from Prospect Street to Dakota Street, Elm Street, from Main Street to 600-feet south of Cedar Street, and Center Street, from Main Street to Dartmouth Street.
The city opened bids for this work on Feb. 11, and awarded the project to SealPros, Inc. This company submitted the low bid of $357,451.09, out of seven area contractors that sought to do this street project. The city engineer's estimate of this project's cost was $450,000.
The revenue for street projects in Vermillion is generated by the city's second penny sales tax.
That bid price also includes the paving of a new public parking lot located located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Kidder and Market Streets, north of the old National Guard armory building.
Other street improvements were made before the asphalt overlay work began.
"When we do a project like this, where there are bad sections of curb, we'll replace that section of curb, and we've done the storm sewer intakes where maybe we had a brick structure that was undersized or failing. We replaced those with a concrete structure," Prescott said. "Also, if needed, we put in additional curb ramps so that they give better access to the disabled and they have better detection devices for the visually impaired."
The severe winter experienced in Vermillion in 2009-10 also took a toll on a portions of Vermillion's streets.
"We do have a few repair projects that we are doing over on Jefferson and Madison (streets)," Prescott said. "That was largely caused by the winter, so we're repairing largely around that intersection there. And we did about a 300-foot stretch of Plum Street over by the USD Sports Complex. That was again caused by winter damage. We had to replace some asphalt there, and we're doing improvements to a road near the recycling center."