Prepare for headaches on main thoroughfares

A Franklin woman said she knows her commute to the Center Grove area will take more time this summer.

The problem is: She has no idea what route to take.

This summer, construction is planned on the county’s four major north-south routes — Interstate 65, U.S. 31, State Road 37 and one intersection on State Road 135 — and plenty of other major arteries in between, including Worthsville Road, Whiteland Road and Jefferson Street. The work will span more than 20 miles, with a price tag totaling more than $90 million.

Commuters are expecting hectic trips to and from work if they plan to take the routes under construction, or are seeking alternate routes on county roads that aren’t used to the level of traffic they could soon get.

Joanne Davis has been avoiding I-65 since construction started last year. This summer, work is continuing to add a lane in each direction of the interstate between Greenwood and Franklin. But with a new roundabout being built on Whiteland Road, closing the road west of I-65, and construction continuing on Worthsville Road west of the new interchange, that makes the interstate even less attractive. If there was an accident, and she needed to find a way off I-65, she would have few options that didn’t include orange barrels and detours, she said.

But now, her alternate route on U.S. 31 all will be under construction, with the state planning to repave the highway between Westview Drive in Franklin and Stop 18 Road in Greenwood.

Her last resort route along State 135 already isn’t appealing, especially with heavier traffic near the recently opened Walmart and other stores and businesses at Smith Valley Road. But now, work is planned to add a new left turn lane from Fry Road onto State Road 135.

And the state just awarded a $3.3 million contract this week to repair and repave State Road 37, from County Road 144 to the Marion County line, said Harry Maginity, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation.

“I am sure it will be nice when it’s done, but it seems like it’s really bad timing for them to be doing them all at once,” Davis said.

For now, her plan is to test out her options and see what works best, while also giving herself plenty of time, she said.

“I am just going to have to give myself a lot of extra time now,” Davis said.

At a glance

Here is a look at the projects planned this year:

State Road 37

What: Repairing and repaving the highway, from County Road 144 to the Marion County line

Cost: $3.3 million

What to expect: State officials will work with contractors in the coming weeks to set a construction plan

Timeline: No schedule has been determined yet, but the work is planned this year

Interstate 65

What: Rebuilding the interstate, and adding a new lane in each direction between Franklin and Main Street in Greenwood

Cost: $84 million

What to expect: Traffic will be shifted to narrower lanes and concrete barrier walls will be put in place while workers build the new lanes in the center of the interstate.

Timeline: Work is ongoing, and is planned to be mostly finished this year, with final pavement and markings put down next year.

U.S. 31

What: Repaving the highway between Westview Drive in Franklin and Stop 18 Road in Greenwood

Cost: $3.8 million

What to expect: Crews will close one lane at a time while paving is done.

Timeline: Work is set to begin in mid-April and finish by Sept. 30.

Worthsville Road and U.S. 31

What: New stoplights and turn lanes are being added at the intersection of Worthsville Road and U.S. 31

Cosy: Part of the overall $9.5 million project

What to expect: The intersection will remain open during construction, but crews will be working on Worthsville Road, on the east side of U.S. 31

Timeline: All work is expected to be completed by the end of July.

Whiteland Road roundabout

What: A new roundabout is being built at Whiteland and Graham roads

Cost: $1 million

What to expect: The intersection west of the interstate will be closed for 60 days, and traffic is being detoured north to Tracy Road

Timeline: The intersection closed this week, and work is expected to be complete by August.

Madison Avenue bridge

What: A bridge over Pleasant Run Creek is being replaced, just east of Greenwood Park Mall

Cost: $1.2 million

What to expect: Traffic is being shifted to one side of the bridge at a time.

Timeline: Work began last month, and is planned to be finished by Sept. 30.

Fry Road and State Road 135

What: A new left turn lane will be added from westbound Fry Road onto southbound State Road 135

Cost: TO BE SET AT MEETING TUESDAY

What to expect: The intersection will remain open during construction.

Timeline: Work is set to begin in May and be done by the end of September.

Jefferson Street

What: Work will begin to rebuild the road and add new landscaping and lighting between Main Street and the Admiral gas station

Cost: Part of the overall $11 million project

What to expect: Crews will shut down that section of the road while work is ongoing, which is why officials decided to do the project in sections

Timeline: Work is set to begin in August and end in December.

Paris Drive roundabout

What: A roundabout is being built on Paris Drive, north of King Street near the Franklin exit off Interstate 65, which is part of an overall project to improve the gateway into the city off I-65, including new landscaping, drainage improvements and new water lines for new development

Cost: About $4.5 million

What to expect: At least one lane of eastbound and westbound traffic will be open on King Street at all times.

Timeline: Work is set to begin in May and take 12 to 14 months.

Author photo
Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.