RQAW, HWC Engineering, municipal cowardice, Jeff Speck, and reading the tea leaves through dry heaves.


While we’re on the topic of RQAW, a useful digression.

RQAW’s letter to property owners: The “street improvements” project that dare not speak its name.

RQAW has been hired as a sub-consultant to HWC Engineering who is hired by the City of New Albany for designing the above referenced project.

The “above referenced project” now is being referred to a generic/euphemistic/Orwellian sense as New Albany Downtown Street Improvements.

HWC Engineering most recently oozed to the surface last November, just days after the election, when City Hall circulated a press release. We looked into it, and offered context not found in the local newspaper.

NAC’s posting follows, verbatim, from November 9, 2015.

N and T reprints the press release, we provide context.

Where have you heard this name before?

Indy-based HWC Engineering to open office in New Albany

NEW ALBANY – HWC Engineering, a full service consulting engineering firm, is expanding its services with a new office in New Albany to open in early 2016.

HWC will occupy one floor of the historic, newly-renovated Tribune Building at 303 Scribner Drive … The office will be led by Jim Rice, a partner at HWC with more than 35 years of experience working on a wide range of municipal and county projects in New Albany, Clarksville, Jeffersonville, Floyd County and Clark County.

As HWC continues to expand in southern Indiana, Rice will oversee several landmark projects for the region including the redevelopment of a 400-acre riverfront mixed-use property in Clarksville.

HWC is also improving downtown New Albany’s streetscape to increase pedestrian access and bicycle mobility with construction to be completed by spring 2017.

Wait — HWC is improving our streetscape?

Don’t be confused. Back in April, HWC got the contract to make sausage out of Speck. With the primary looming, Jeff Gahan was able to push street grid reform 18 months into the future, so as to construct his Phipps gambit:

“No re-election, no Speck … and if re-elected, no promises. Now sign on the dotted line.”

As a reminder of how it went down, here’s an extended excerpt from April, followed by a fascinating fact you may not have known.

Firm hired to provide options for changing New Albany street grid: HWC Engineering to review Jeff Speck’s proposal for downtown, by Daniel Suddeath

NEW ALBANY — A firm will weigh the financial feasibility of planner Jeff Speck’s downtown streets proposal and analyze design alternatives before the city makes substantial changes to the road network.

Though the additional work could mean that implementing suggestions made by Speck — including converting one-way streets to two-way traffic — may be delayed for 18 months, city officials said attracting federal dollars for a project is typically a long process.

The city is relying on federal funding that’s dedicated to match 80 percent of design and construction costs for projects to improve traffic flow and safety in downtown New Albany.

The city will be responsible for 20 percent of the $307,450 contract the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety approved Tuesday in hiring Hannum, Wagle & Cline Engineering, or HWC, of Scottsburg.

The firm’s task will be two-fold, as it will with review the Speck plan in terms of cost-analysis as part of a concept design phase. The phase, which is expected to take about six months, will also entail a review of public input collected mostly during the three hearings held by the city this year on the Speck report.

HWC will also provide up to three alternatives to the Speck study based on “financial feasibility, resident interests, business deliveries, and large trucking concerns.”

The second phase, if the city elects to make changes, would be an engineering design for construction projects. The second phase could take up to a year to complete, but is covered in the contract approved by the board of works Tuesday.

As an aside, it’s interesting to note that according to LinkedIn, among the local employees of HWC Engineering is Sally Hughes, who is married to David Duggins, the city of New Albany’s economic development director.

You know, the same one who never finished reading Speck’s book.