Of the five routes for a future Interstate 69, State Road 37 would reduce crashes and congestion the most, impact less forest and farm acreage, and cut travel time to the airport significantly.
But the path that would pass through Perry Township and White River Township also impacts the most businesses, which has been a concern raised by residents, businesses owners and lawmakers.
The state is considering five routes for the final segment of Interstate 69. A recent study laid out how each route measures in multiple factors, including reducing traffic congestion and crashes, environmental impact, and the number of homes and businesses that would have to be relocated.
Now, more studies will be done into the cost of building the interstate, how well each route performs in different measurements, such as reducing traffic congestion, and the impact it has on people and the environment, said LaMar Holliday, Indiana Department of Transportation public involvement specialist for the project.
The comments and feedback the state recently received and is still accepting on the routes will weigh into the decision of which routes should move forward, Holliday said. The state plans to use all that information to narrow the list of routes further, he said.
The current list of five routes was narrowed from an initial 14 earlier this year. The routes still being considered include the path along the current State Road 37, two routes that branch off State Road 37 and connect to Interstate 70 with a new road and two routes that branch off State Road 37 and connect to Interstate 465 with a new road.
One of the key differences among the routes is the number and type of properties that would be impacted if the interstate were built there.
The route along State Road 37, which would expand the current highway into an interstate and add interchanges, overpasses and underpasses and access roads, impacts the least acreage between Martinsville and Indianapolis, according to the state study.
That route also impacts lowest amount of agricultural property, 510 acres, which is about half of each of the other four routes, the study showed.
But the route, which would pass through the Center Grove area and the southside, would impact the most commercial and industrial properties, with more than 100 business properties forced to relocate, the study said. Exactly what those properties are has not been mapped out yet, Holliday said.
One of those business is McCarty Mulch and Stone, which is just off State Road 37, north of Smith Valley Road.
The key concern for the company is how customers will be able to get to the site if I-69 were built, owner Josh McCarty said. Under the plans he has seen, customers would need to take Fairview Road to Bluff Road and then get onto the interstate using the County Line Road interchange, which would not be convenient at all compared with being able to turn on and off State Road 37, he said.
“It just really wouldn’t be very customer friendly,” McCarty said.
McCarty, a former county council member, also doesn’t see the interstate benefiting Johnson County because, with just three interchanges in the county, it would reduce the number of access points into the White River Township area and the rest of the county, he said.
He has raised his concerns to the state and is waiting to see if State Road 37 stays on the list of routes. He hopes it doesn’t, he said.
“I am like everyone right now, just kind of holding our breath right now and seeing where it goes,” McCarty said.
At Southland Community Church, which is located off Smith Valley Road near State Road 37, church leaders can’t advocate for the interstate enough, senior pastor Steve Schellin said.
From the plans they have seen, the interstate won’t impact their property and would make the church more accessible, since Smith Valley Road is a planned interchange, he said.
“We will be a 20-minute drive from half the population of Indianapolis,” he said. “The easier it is for people to get here, the better.”
Holliday said public feedback will be considered when determining the route of the interstate.
Comments are due by Dec. 17.
How to comment:
- Write an email to the Indiana Department of Transportation Section 6 office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Call the Section 6 project office at 317-881-6408.
- Stop in to the Section 6 project office at 7847 Waverly Road, Martinsville. The office is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.