Years ago, a multi-million dollar plan was created to widen a busy north-south route in Johnson County.
At the time, officials envisioned a widening project that added another lane in both directions of State Road 135, between Stones Crossing and Curry roads, as the first phase of the work. By this year, lanes would have already been added between Stones Crossing and County Road 144, and construction would be beginning from Bargersville to Trafalgar.
Instead, the work stalled after the first phase. South of Stones Crossing Road, the major route is only two lanes wide, with turn lanes here and there.
And state officials say commuters and residents shouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon.
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The projects were estimated to cost more than $40 million at the time and were included in a list of work the state was planning in its Major Moves projects paid for with money from the lease of the northern Indiana toll road.
But that project list was scaled back, and the next two phases were not included in the final list, Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Harry Maginity said.
Currently, no projects are on the horizon or in the works to widen State Road 135, Maginity said.
That is disappointing, especially as more development is planned along the road and as more traffic comes to the area, said Lance Fischer, whose family lives off State Road in Trafalgar. He cited multiple developments planned all along State Road 135 that will increase traffic, and the need for a wider road, from a new neighborhood in Trafalgar, to commercial buildings at Whiteland Road and medical developments at Smokey Row and Stones Crossing roads.
“It’s really a letdown that it’s been pushed aside because of the amount of traffic that’s already there and the development that’s going to be coming along,” Fischer said.
He also worries about how much busier the road will get when construction of the new Interstate 69, along the path of State Road 37, gets closer and then finishes. People will use State Road 135 as an alternative route, he said.
Fischer is hopeful that the state is continuing to keep the project on a long-term list and does see a need to widen the road in the future, he said.
“You let it go too long, and you’re even further behind than you were before,” he said.