Work on State Road 44 solving dangerous problem

One of Johnson County’s more dangerous intersections is getting rerouted to make it safer, and it can’t come too soon for residents who use it regularly.

Centerline Road intersects State Road 44 at an awkward angle at its southern junction. The road follows the highway for a short distance before branching off to continue north.

That southern portion is the more dangerous part. Centerline enters the highway in a depression, and hills on either side make it impossible to see oncoming traffic until vehicles are nearly to the road.

The stretch of highway between the two segments of Centerline has been the scene of numerous accidents and some fatalities. Since 2005, 77 accidents have occurred at the intersection, resulting in 20 injuries and nearly 60 cases of vehicles or other property being damaged, according to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

The speed limit on that portion of State Road 44 is 45 mph, but signs suggest traveling through the curve at 20 to 35 mph due to the sharp turns.

Now the state is ready to begin rerouting the highway to make things safer. And on behalf of all motorists who use Centerline Road, we say, “thank you.”

About one-quarter of a mile of State Road 44 will be straightened, eliminating that dangerous southern juncture. The Indiana Department of Transportation is spending nearly $1.7 million to reconstruct the road. The road will be shifted as much as 1,500 feet west of the current route this summer, according to INDOT plans.

The new road will not be a straight line through the quarter-mile section, but the curve will be significantly reduced.

Work is slated to start this month, but State Road 44 will remain open for the majority of the five-month construction project. Centerline Road will be closed at the intersection while construction is underway, according to spokesman Harry Maginity.

Centerline Road is a major north-south route for residents in south-central Johnson County. Motorists can easily reach both State Road 44 and State Road 144.

This state project will create a much safer intersection and significantly reduce the risk of accidents.

At issue

Poor sight lines make one Johnson County intersection especially dangerous.

Our point

A state project will significantly enhance safety at State Road 44 and Centerline Road.