TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A major road project gets underway in Terre Haute, and it could mean you're changing your daily route.
The city began work on a resurfacing project for Wabash Avenue, Tuesday.
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The project will also mean removing some long laid history from under the pavement.
Wabash Ave. has seen better days.
The sounds of saws signal the beginning of new life for Terre Haute's busiest street.
"If you drive Wabash right now, before they do the work, you can see on the drivers side wheel path, right against the center line where the turn lane is you can see a ripple effect in the asphalt," Larry Robbins a city engineer said.
The effect is causing loose rock and the formation of potholes and other major problems for drivers that needed to be addressed.
The ripples originate beneath the pavement, on a foundation that tracks back somewhere to Terre Haute's early days.
Underneath the modern thoroughfare are tracks to the old Interurban railway.
"It was the mode of transportation for folks that were traveling around the city or the city to the outlying areas; as far as Indianapolis, Brazil, Paris, Illinois," Marylee Hagan of the Vigo County Historical Society explained.
Beginning at the turn of the century, Terre Haute's streets were filled with street cars and railways.
Cars for inner city travel and the Interurban railway's cars brought the Wabash Valley closer together.
That was until the early 1940s.
"They probably began to lose their popularity, because of the popularity of the automobile," Hagan said.
The city street lines were abandoned in 1939 and the Interurban Railway in 1940.
The tracks were never removed.
Instead, they were paved over and continue fighting back, causing an unstable road up until now.
"It's a 90 day project so it put the completion date at about November 3rd,"
The first phase of the project is from 13th St. to 19th St. Then, they'll move from there up to 25th St.
The bad news is this: it's only the beginning.
As more funds become available, they'll have more of Wabash Ave. to dig up; possibly up to Fruitridge Ave..
As far as traffic control goes, west bound lanes will be open; however, from 13th St. to 25th St. east bound traffic will be sent down Poplar and Ohio streets.
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