Motorists in the Center Grove area would be able to get on Interstate 69 at one of three exits, but would find other local roads dead-ended at the new roadway.
The Indiana Department of Transportation has released its most specific plan for Interstate 69 through Johnson County to date. The report shows what roads in the Center Grove area would have overpasses or underpasses, what would dead-end at the new interstate and where the interchanges would be built.
The road would shift in some areas to avoid requiring residents to move, and a service road is planned to provide an alternate route for farm equipment or local motorists who want to avoid the interstate.
Old State Road 37, which currently ends near Olive Branch Road, will be extended along the west side of the interstate north to County Line Road. The extension will also keep the interstate from landlocking properties and could be used if the interstate was closed.
The plan will be finalized during the coming year, and residents are asked to study the design and offer feedback. Two upcoming public meetings are planned.
For some residents along the road, the report answers questions about whether their homes would be affected. The new interstate would be shifted west of current State Road 37 near Smith Valley Road to avoid the Wakefield subdivision and Wakefield Drive, meaning 25 homes that were in jeopardy can remain. The neighborhood of about 300 homes is located east of State Road 37 between Fairview and Smith Valley roads.
County Road 144 and Smith Valley Road would get interchanges, and a certain type of interchange, called a folded loop, will be built at the interchange at County Line Road to avoid affecting businesses at the southeast corner. Roundabouts will also be added at the County Line interchange.
Seven roads in or near the county would be closed at the interstate with a cul-de-sac for traffic, rather than pass over the interstate. They are Whiteland, Banta, Travis, Olive Branch, Bluffdale and Fairview roads and Bluff Acres Drive.
Stones Crossing Road will continue as an overpass over the interstate.
The interstate will be six lanes through Johnson County and for the most part be built at the existing State Road 37 grade, using the existing median and 12-foot shoulders. In Marion County, the new interstate will be built above the current grade of State Road 37 and expand to eight lanes north of Southport Road.
As expected, the White River Township fire station at State Road 37 and Smith Valley Road will close, and a new station will be built, likely on Morgantown Road, near Smith Valley Road.
The release of the 1,500-page plan marks a major milestone in the planning of Interstate 69, said Andy Dietrick, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation. During the coming year, the final environmental impact study will be completed.
The draft “couldn’t have been accomplished without the significant amount of public input we received from hundreds of citizens, elected officials and civic organizations along the corridor,” said Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness, who is the former mayor of Franklin and grew up in the Center Grove area. “This draft study moves us closer to what’s been talked about for so, so long — finishing I-69 and having a free flow of traffic from Evansville to Indianapolis.”
Funding for construction of the 26 miles of interstate from Martinsville to Interstate 465 in Indianapolis hasn’t been identified and a construction timetable has not been set, but the state could start purchasing right-of-way or buying other properties needed for the project by this time next year, Dietrick said.
The details released this month are part of an environmental study INDOT was required to complete to show the impact of this section of the interstate on people, air and water quality, noise, homes and businesses and mobility, Dietrick said. The state had to identify the impacts, then work to reduce, eliminate or make up for the impacts, such as the interstate’s affect on animals, such as the Indiana bat, or any waterways, he said.
“How is the project going to impact people’s ability to move around from east to west and north to south?” Dietrick said. “All of those things are taken into account.”
Feedback from residents, businesses, local emergency responders, civic groups, area schools and elected officials were key in honing in on the route, Dietrick said, and changes were made to reduce the number of people or businesses that would have to move.
A key issue yet to be resolved is how to construct an interchange at Southport Road, due to heavy development on all four corners.
One route would require more than 300 apartments at the Aspen Lakes community to be torn down, but saving the apartments would mean the relocation of 16 businesses, including the Southport Landing Shopping Center.
Here’s how you can look at the entire plan and give feedback:
5:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 6 at Perry Meridian High School, 401 W. Meridian School Road, Indianapolis.
5:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 10 at Martinsville High School, 1360 E. Gray St., Martinsville.
The meetings will include an open house format with a presentation that begins at 6:30 p.m. Public comment will follow.
Read the study: in.gov/indot/projects/i69/2515.htm
Read a printed copy of the study
White River Township branch of the Johnson County Public Library, 1664 Library Boulevard, Greenwood
Send your feedback to the I-69 Section 6 project office, 7847 Waverly Road, Martinsville, IN 46151.
The deadline to offer comments is May 8.