After a pandemic delay, wheels are again turning toward completion of Richmond’s Loop bicycle path.

Phase 2 of the Complete Streets Loop Project was originally scheduled for 2022 construction; however, the Indiana Department of Transportation requested the project be rescheduled for November 2023 bidding and 2024 construction. The city’s Board of Public Works and Safety approved July 20 one contract and one contract addendum with Clark Dietz for Phase 2 Loop work.

The addendum to a 2018 contract will pay Clark Dietz no more than $13,900 to update drawings and specifications in preparation for the November bid letting. The project installs Loop paths along East Main Street from Seventh to 10th streets and along Fort Wayne Avenue and North E Street in the Depot District to connect paths constructed during the Loop’s initial phase.

Depot District business owner Rick Parker filed a lawsuit in 2022 seeking to stop Phase 2, claiming the project did not comply with the National Historic Preservation Act, construction would damage his businesses and removal of trees would impact his property values. He named the city, Clark Dietz, INDOT and the Federal Highway Administration as defendants. The FHA had the lawsuit transferred to the Southern District of Indiana federal court, where earlier this year it was dismissed.

Richmond received a $2.72 million INDOT grant to pay 80% of the Phase 2 cost. The initial construction was part of the city’s Stellar Communities award.

Clark Dietz’s new contract approved July 20 provides up to $363,709 for construction engineering services during Phase 2. The company will provide inspection, testing, reporting, pay estimates and documentation services.

Clark Dietz also is designing an associated project, a North Ninth Street plaza. The city contracted with Clark Dietz for up to $40,000 to provide drawings and specifications for the plaza, which will replace the block of North Ninth Street between North E Street and Elm Place. That area will be under the new U.S. 27 bridge.

The plaza will connect with the Loop on its south side.

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A version of this article appeared in the July 26 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.