A federal grant will help Greenwood pay to build another section of a long-planned east-west corridor, stretching a four-lane boulevard halfway across the city.
The city will receive up to $7.5 million in grant funds to widen Worthsville Road to four lanes from U.S. 31 to Averitt Road and to build a roundabout at Averitt. The city will need to spend about $4.2 million in tax dollars to pay for design, land and a 20 percent construction match for the project, according to Greenwood city engineer and director of community development services Mark Richards.
The widening will complete the second leg of Greenwood’s four-part plan to create a corridor between State Road 135 and Interstate 65, allowing commuters and trucks to quickly cross the city and access highways. The corridor eventually will link to Shelby County and Interstate 74, making a more convenient route for drivers and creating new opportunities for business development, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said. Finishing Worthsville Road west of U.S. 31 will complete half the route in Greenwood, but the city will still need several years and about $20 million more to complete the connection.
Greenwood had submitted proposals for all three sections of the east-west corridor that will need to be completed after the current construction on Worthsville Road between U.S. 31 and I-65 is finished, Richards said. Those sections are State Road 135 to Honey Creek Road, Honey Creek Road to Averitt Road, and Averitt Road to U.S. 31. The western two sections should cost about the same as Worthsville Road projects, which have ranged from about $10 million to $12 million, Richards said.
The grant to widen Worthsville Road from U.S. 31 to Averitt Road will save the city millions on construction, but officials were hoping the section from Honey Creek Road to Averitt Road would be the one to get funding in 2018. That section will require the city to build a road that runs diagonally between Stones Crossing Road and Worthsville Road and replaces two 90-degree turns on County Road 125W.
But getting money for Worthsville Road west of U.S. 31 will allow the city to work in a line instead of upgrading a middle section of the road first, Richards said.
He added, “This maybe makes a little more sense and will allow us to take care of that next section of road in order.”
The federal funds pay for 80 percent of the construction cost and come through the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization. The money will be available in July 2018, and the city must have a contractor within a year after that. The regional organization helps coordinate projects across Indianapolis and the surrounding counties and selects and distributes federal grant funds for transportation projects.
The improvements that will be made to Worthsville Road west of U.S. 31 will look similar to what is happening east of the highway right now, Richards said. The road will be widened to four lanes and have a landscaped median.
On Tuesday, Greenwood’s redevelopment commission approved spending about $885,000 to have engineers begin designing the next section road project. The work will be paid for out of the city’s tax-increment financing district funds, which are collected from businesses in the special tax districts and set aside for infrastructure and economic development projects. The design is expected to take about two years to complete.
Other than the design costs and the 20 percent match for construction, which will be about $1.8 million, Greenwood may need to spend $1 million to $1.5 million to purchase land along Worthsville Road needed for the widening. The city will need to purchase several pieces of property, and Richards said he wasn’t sure if any homes would need to be bought if they’re too close to the road.
“We have very little right-of-way on the north side of the road,” he said.
The city will reapply to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization for the other sections in the future to try to reduce the amount of tax dollars the city will need to spend to complete the route.
The regional organization scores projects submitted from all over central Indiana and then ranks them to decide which get funding from available federal road money. Greenwood’s project from State Road 135 to Honey Creek Road also scored highly this year, which makes it likely the city could be selected for grant funds if it’s submitted again in two or three years, Richards said.
The middle section including the new connector road received a low score, which could make it the most difficult to win federal dollars for in the future, Richards said. Current traffic is one measurement used in the scoring process to determine the need for road work, which is one criteria that is hurting that section. He said the land around that area is mostly undeveloped, and drivers avoid using the road as a cut-through because of the jogs on County Road 125W.
Richards said Greenwood officials can review the score the project received to see what areas dragged the application down and figure out ways to pitch the project differently during the next call for projects.
Greenwood could work on the segment extending east from State Road 135 first if it’s funded ahead of the middle portion, Myers said. Greenwood will build the section from Honey Creek Road to Averitt Road in the future, even if the city can’t get grant funds and has to pay for the entire cost with local tax dollars, he added.
Greenwood is working to create an east-west corridor to allow drivers to easily get between State Road 135 and the new Interstate 65 interchange. Here’s a look at where the project stands:
Where: Stones Crossing Road between State Road 135 and Honey Creek Road
Status: Scored well in a recent application for federal grant funds. Could be selected for funding if the city reapplies in two or three years.
Where: At Stones Crossing and Honey Creek roads
Status: Estimated cost is about $1.56 million. Could be included as part of a section project.
Where: Stones Crossing Road and a new connector road, between Honey Creek and Averitt roads
Status: Did not score well on recent application for federal grant funds, in part due to a low amount of traffic. Greenwood would build a new road stretching diagonally from Stones Crossing Road to Worthsville Road in order to eliminate two 90-degree turns on County Road 125W.
Where: Worthsville Road, from Averitt Road to U.S. 31
Status: Estimated cost is $11.7 million total, federal grant will pay up to $7.5 million toward construction. Funding will be available starting in June 2018 and construction would need to start within the year.
Where: Worthsville Road, from U.S. 31 to Interstate 65
Status: Construction cost is $9.3 million. Work has been underway since last year and is expected to be done by the end of this year.