Hogsett administration plans to spend $25M to repair run-down residential streets across Indy

The city identified more than 600 miles of roads that need to be repaired. It will spend $25 million to fix about 10% of those. (IBJ photo/Leslie Bonilla Muñiz)

Some of Indianapolis’ most battered stretches of residential streets could get makeovers as soon as spring 2022 under a $25 million program that city leaders announced Thursday.

But the program—the second phase of the city’s “Circle City Forward” infrastructure and community investment initiative—will only repair a small percentage of roads that are in poor condition, officials acknowledged.

Earlier this year, as part of the program’s first phase, the city devoted $190 million to a series of community development projects.

The Department of Public Works inspects all of Indy’s streets every few years and focuses its repairs on the busiest roads that are in the worst condition, said Mayor Joe Hogsett at a news conference in the Forest Manor neighborhood. But that doesn’t always leave money to address the less-busy residential streets sorely in need of repairs.

“After five years and nearly $400 million of massive improvements to major thoroughfares, we can deliver capital improvement dollars to less traveled roadways right outside our front doors,” Hogsett said. Residential streets, he added, “may be less traveled, but they are still hugely important to the families that use those roads daily.”

The project will tackle Indy’s most dilapidated residential streets.

The city has identified 605 lane miles across Indianapolis with a pavement condition index of 0-15, out of a scale that goes to 100—and there are “a lot of zeroes on the list,” according to DPW Director Dan Parker. The index was originally developed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

“This is not filling chuck holes. It is actual, real reconstruction of the streets,” Parker said. “This is not going to be just, ‘Let’s throw some asphalt on top and make it look good.’ … Some of these streets have not been touched in over 40 years, and they deserve to be completely rebuilt.”

The $25 million will cover about 10% of the residential lane miles in question, or about 60 lane miles, and won’t involve sidewalks or other roadside projects. Fixing them all would take $257 million, according to DPW.

The money will come from city’s rainy day fund. Officials said that with federal American Rescue Plan funding on the way, the city can tap into some of the cash it’s saved.

All 25 city-county districts will get $200,000 each to put toward the road rehab. Each will also receive additional money via a DPW funding formula, which considers total need, since some districts have more miles to fix than others. The formula also includes median household income as part of the city’s push for equitable investment.

“In one of our most disenfranchised neighborhoods, we finally feel heard,” said Ashley Gurvitz, executive director and CEO of the United Northeast Community Development Corporation. “… We know that if we are all working together, our roadways should be clear and smooth and reach every single doorstep.”

The initiative was introduced as part of a proposal at a full City-County Council meeting Monday and passed the Public Works Committee Thursday evening. The proposal will up for consideration at the next full meeting in June—if approved at that session, construction could start as soon as spring 2022, Parker said.

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15 thoughts on “Hogsett administration plans to spend $25M to repair run-down residential streets across Indy

  1. Is this saying $257M would fix all the bad roads AND bad sidewalks? Sounds very optimistic. Sidewalks are crumbling and dangerous in neighborhoods of all incomes in Indy, and some marginal areas don’t even have sidewalks. Along with streets, renewing curbs + sidewalks is a huge step in bringing up a neighborhood, making it more safe. Everyone takes more pride in their front yards, even renters, and area is no longer as inviting to loitering and destruction. Rather than holding a press conference to tell how little of the infrastructure will be repaired, Mayor might better spend his time looking for add’l funding sources to really make a difference.

  2. $25 being a drop in the bucket is true, but I’ll take the drop in this case. It might mean a lot for some residents.

    In general we just have too much infrastructure to adequately maintain. Instead of maintenance, the city has sprawled out and neglected within. That’s not a uniquely Indy issue, it’s an American one. Sprawl keeps happening, and the best way to combat it is through reinvesting in our own older neighborhoods.

  3. 25 million won’t touch the Ho Chi Min Trsils that have devein Indy. We are the laughing stock of the Midwest about our streets. Pathetic financial management.

    1. Really? Have you been to Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Milwaukee? All midwestern cities experience multiple freeze-thaw cycles even winter and spring, resulting in potholes. And none of these cities have anywhere near the funds to repair and maintain them. Indianapolis’ situation is exasperated by the Republican majority in the state legislature that refuses to use a funding formula based on “lane miles” in place of the current “street miles.” So, with numerous four and even six lane streets, we get screwed by the GOP. Go figure, eh?

  4. Kevin is right – a lot of neglect for a long time in many areas. I do not see an easy solution going forward as the city spends a lot of money for things I do not personally feel are necessary but they are prioritized above infrastructure. Local government has gotten too big and succumbed to the same fate as all other bureaucracies: inefficiency. It is very sad but also very common and it will only get worse as the covid era is encouraging/making people more and more dependent on the government.

  5. So Greg Ballard spent zero money on road maintenance for 8 years and you guys think that this problem happened overnight?? At least Mayor Joe is willing to find money to fix the roads without ruining the budget for future generations like Ballard. You guys need to recognize a true fiscal conservative when you see one.

    1. You’re kidding right?! The roads are literally crumbling before your eyes now and were not anywhere near this bad or pathetic during the Ballard administration. Do you think pothole Joe is called that without merit?

    2. After $500 million for Rebuild Indy and $350 million for Rebuild Indy 2 keeping our infrastructure in perfect condition during the Ballard administration, it is a tragedy that our streets have deteriorated to the condition they are in now. It’s like inheriting a thoroughbred race horse, and turning him into dog food.

  6. Perfect condition is a laughable term. Many of the Rebuild Indy repairs were cosmetic in nature. Some “repairs” started deteriorating within a few years because they were hastily done. These new spot fixes promise to be more thorough in nature, hopefully ensuring more bang for our buck with road surface repairs.

    Viewing mayors through a partisan lens seems to be weird. There has been good and bad stuff with every mayor since I’ve lived here. Our roads are deteriorating because that’s what they do when you have too many lane miles to maintain (especially in a northern climate), and that has been going on for decades.

    I’ll still await the results of the new repairs before I can really assess them. They say they aren’t even repairing sidewalks, which unfortunately isn’t promising. Meanwhile, most of the new ADA sidewalk corners near the Red Line do look pretty good (the awful one well behind the stop line at 54th and Broadway being an exception). Infrastructure is a mixed bag in Indy, because there are very few standards of excellence outside of the Cultural Trail or Monument Circle. This is a “good enough” kind of town, and I’m a “good enough” kind of guy…but it still needs to be said.

  7. Not a surprise. Underfunding public infrastructure and safety (the first priority in Government, IMHO) seems to be a theme with this administration.

  8. Charlie is it honest to say Ballard never spent a dime on roads? C’mon man, as your prez likes to say. The problem with politics is that issues like these tend to never get resolved. There is always something more glamourous and attractive to spend money on: Lucas Oil Stadium, a new jail complex, a new library, etc. The White River was a cesspool for decades and is finally being cleaned up but was ignored by both political parties for decades. The preoccupation with rapid mass transit over the last several years was a total joke and the city buying electric cars blew up in their faces also. I guess that is sexy, fashionable stuff compared to potholes, streets, trails, and parks, and police to protect property from lawlessness. Money should not be the issue ever. It is the prioritization of money that is the problem and neither party has done an especially great job of managing that in my opinion. The government spends a lot of money but a lot of it is flat out wasted and doesn’t do much for the masses. Meanwhile, the media sees their role as to pit neighbor against neighbor so the charade can continue.

  9. I so totally agree with Joe F. above. Neither party cares about the masses or doing what’s right. It’s all politics and what will make them look good and get re-elected.

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