The city of Greenwood is preparing the next area of growth and development.
With much of the north, south and west sides of the city filling with residential and commercial development, officials have set their eyes on the area east of Interstate 65 as the next area for major growth.
This fall, the city is planning road projects meant to help improve infrastructure and traffic flow in the area.
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Portions of Graham and Collins roads, which are becoming heavily traveled routes on the east side, will be rebuilt.
A stoplight will be installed at the intersection of Graham Road and Main Street, which is currently a four-way stop, along with a right turn lane north onto Graham Road. The project will improve safety, reduce traffic delays and congestion and, most importantly, potentially attract development to the east side of I-65, city engineer Mark Richards said.
The first project, which will begin in about two weeks, will repair Graham and Collins roads, which have become heavily traveled since the I-65 interchange at Worthsville Road was opened.
Semis delivering shipments to and from the Precedent South business park have used Collins Road to and from Graham Road more than ever before. The two-lane roads have served as a connecting route for semis entering and exiting the interstate at Worthsville Road, instead of Main Street.
Between this month and the beginning of August, Graham and Collins roads will be completely rebuilt, Richards said. That project will cost about $1 million and be paid for with tax dollars from the city’s tax-increment financing district, or TIF, officials said.
Work to install the stoplight will begin near the end of August or beginning of September and will take about 60 days to complete, Richards said.
The new stoplights will be even more important when about 20 acres on the northwest side of the intersection, which is currently the site of a vacant home, could be used for commercial development. The city hopes for light industrial or manufacturing, office space or retail, such as strip malls, drug stores or restaurants, Greenwood Mayor Myers said.
In order for development to come to the east side, the city has to complete traffic projects like these to appeal to developers, prepare the area for increased traffic and improve the roads for residents and visitors who travel through that area, Richards said.
Greenwood’s comprehensive plan for growth heavily emphasized the east side because that’s the location with the most opportunity for development, Richards said.
“The only direction we have to expand is to the east. If we are going to continue to grow, we are going to grow to the east,” Richards said.
Richards has worked for the city for eight years, and in that time, no area has been as heavily targeted for continued growth as the east side of I-65, he said.
Last year, Gershman Properties announced a 700,000-square-foot Greenwood Town Center that will be built off Graham Road, between Main Street and County Line Road. In 2008, Graham Road was turned into a four-lane road to accommodate development in the area. And in 2006, a new Greenwood fire station was built along Graham Road.
Eventually, officials want Graham Road to serve as an alternative north-south route for traffic to get between County Line Road and Worthsville Road. The area around the Worthsville Road interchange, which was recently designated as the city’s seventh TIF district, is planned for estimated $104 million in future infrastructure projects, such as widening roads, building another fire station and making stormwater and sewer improvements, officials said.
Here is a look at projects Greenwood is planning on the east side of the city:
Graham Road and Main Street
- A $364,000 project to install stoplights at what is currently a four-way stop. Federal funding will pay or about $280,000 of the cost.
- Addition of a right turn lane from westbound Main Street onto northbound Graham Road.
- Work will begin at the end of August and take about 60 days, with lane closures limiting traffic flow.
Collins and Graham roads
- A $1 million rebuild of each road beginning south of Allen Road at the Precedent South Business Park.
- The project calls for a cement base to be laid down underneath two layers of asphalt.
- Work will begin later this month and last until the end of July.