During the next several years, more than $18 million will be spent to create a better route for traffic to cross the Center Grove area and get to a future Interstate 69.

The work will help form a long-discussed east-west corridor that is meant to bring traffic from I-69 to Interstates 65 and 74.

Already, work has been done on the east side of the county to Worthsville Road, where a new I-65 interchange has been built and the road has been widened to U.S. 31, and is either planned or has been done to county roads further east.

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Next, Greenwood already has won a $7.5 million grant to do the next phase from U.S. 31 to Averitt Road, and work is set to begin in 2019.

And recently, Greenwood won another $7.5 million grant to help pay to build the next phase of the project, which will connect Worthsville and Stones Crossing roads with a new connector road, and add a roundabout at Stones Crossing and Honey Creek roads. The total project cost is about $11.2 million, with the rest of the money coming from the city.

In addition to building an east-west route for traffic, that project also will benefit the west side of the city, near State Road 135, that Greenwood also wants to grow and develop. The city recently created a new tax-increment financing, or TIF, district to set aside tax dollars to help improve infrastructure in that area.

The city has several other steps that will need to be done before any work can begin, including environmental studies, finalizing designs and buying the land needed for the project, city engineer Mark Richards said.

The plan is to make a two-lane road with a grassy median, which would allow the road to easily be expanded to four lanes as needed, similar to how Whiteland Road was reconstructed by the county years ago, Richards said.

And the new roundabout also will make the intersection of Stones Crossing and Honey Creek roads safer, since that is currently an offset intersection and can be hard for drivers to see oncoming traffic, he said.

Work is not set to start until at least 2020, he said.

But the work that is planned will be another step toward creating the long-discussed east-west route, Richards said.

Next up: improving Stones Crossing Road from Honey Creek Road to State Road 135, he said. From there, traffic would take State Road 135 to County Road 144 and go to State Road 37, which is planned to become Interstate 69.

The city hasn’t yet applied for grant funding for that project, but plans to, and hopes construction could begin as soon as 2022 or 2023, Richards said.

Along with work done by Greenwood and the county east of I-65, motorists could connect with I-65, I-69 and I-74 without going all the way to Interstate 465. And it will improve traffic in Greenwood, he said.

“I’ve been here eight years, and have heard stories of the east-west corridor being discussed for 40-plus years,” Richards said.

“It’s nice to see money being spent on construction, rather than planning.”

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