U.S. 31 signal work begins

Add another project to the growing list of roadwork this summer along heavily traveled routes in Johnson County.

Next month, the Indiana Department of Transportation will begin replacing stoplight signals at each intersection on U.S. 31 in Greenwood. The work will take place at the same time a repaving project on U.S. 31 between Greenwood and Franklin is wrapping up.

Seven intersections between County Line and Stop 18 roads will have stoplights in every direction replaced with new ones that state officials say reduce accidents. The new signals will have a reflective back plate that will be easier to see when power is out and from a distance.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will install 364 stoplights in three cities, including Greenwood, in mid-June, spokesman Harry Maginity said.

When work begins to install the new signals next month, crews will be finishing a $3.9 million project to repave 6 miles of U.S. 31 between Stop 18 Road in Greenwood and Westview Drive in Franklin. An estimated 31,000 cars pass through that section of the highway each day.

As stoplight installation begins, crews will finish repaving U.S. 31 near Franklin and laying down new lane markings. Since most of the repaving work will be south of Stop 18 Road, it shouldn’t interfere with, or take place at the same time as, the stoplight installation, Maginity said.

While the work is taking place, motorists should expect slower traffic passing through the intersections because cars will be merged to one lane, Maginity said. The Greenwood intersections include Apryl Drive, Main Street, Worthsville, Stop 18, Smith Valley, Fry and County Line roads. Crews plan on completing three intersections per day, so the work in Greenwood shouldn’t take long, Maginity said.

“This is a very methodical program and (safety) is what it’s all about,” Maginity said.

The state is transitioning to the new stoplights after a Federal Highway Administration study showed a reduction in accidents at intersections with the traffic signals, according to the news release. After the new stoplights were added, crashes at those intersections were reduced by nearly 29 percent, according to the study.

The new signals also reduced crashes with injuries by as much as 37 percent, and accidents occurring later at night and during the early morning hours decreased by nearly 50 percent, according to the study.

The back plate and reflective border make the stoplights more visible for motorists. When you’re driving toward the intersection, the black back plate on the stoplight makes the traffic signal easier to see. And the reflective border will be easier to see at night or in a power outage when the stoplight is not working, according to the release.

Intersections along U.S. 50 in Seymour and State Road 46 in Bloomington also will receive the new stoplights. The first phase of the project will start in Bloomington, then move on to Greenwood, Maginity said.

The project will cost the state about $296,000 and will be completed by July 31, according to the news release.

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.