The backups have stretched for miles at some points, with drivers waiting through congestion they aren’t used to seeing on their daily commute.
Since construction started on a new roundabout at Smith Valley and Yorktown roads, more traffic has been shifted to other east-west roads in Greenwood, especially Main Street on the west side of the city.
Drivers could usually expect to get through the two-mile stretch of Main Street from U.S. 31 to State Road 135 in just a couple of minutes. But with Smith Valley Road closed and more traffic detouring a half-mile north to Main Street, their trip can now take as long as 15 minutes.
Austin Glander, a supervisor at the Gathering Place, a community center attached to the Community Church of Greenwood on West Main Street, said he has seen vehicles in the westbound lane backed up for nearly two miles, from State Road 135 to Howard Street near Westside Park.
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The stretch of Main Street between State Road 135 and U.S. 31 is two lanes wide and is now taking on significantly more traffic than usual.
The city received complaints from drivers the first few days after the roundabout construction began, but that response is typical for road projects as drivers adjust to the detours, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said.
With a home along Main Street himself, Myers said he sympathizes with other drivers who get caught in rush hour traffic. If drivers have the option of taking a detour further from Main Street, he recommends considering County Line Road as an alternate route, he said.
The good news for drivers is that the construction of the Smith Valley Road roundabout is on schedule and set to be finished by the end of July.
Glander said the construction had lead to some frustrated visitors who’ve arrived late to games or classes, but the Gathering Place hasn’t had a dip in visitors to classes, workouts and recreational sports leagues.
“It’s a silly thing to be frustrated about,” he said.
Besides the construction of the roundabout at Smith Valley Road, the Indiana Department of Transportation has been working on sections of State Road 135 and U.S. 31 this summer, with lane closures slowing drivers down on those routes as well. On State Road 135, any construction means the road is reduced to a single lane, meaning drivers have to take turns being flagged through the construction zone.
The lesson Center Grove area resident Mary Weitzel has learned to deal with all of the construction across the northern half of Johnson County is to make sure to leave at least five minutes earlier than normal in case she runs into traffic.
“You just have to plan for it,” she said.
For Greenwood resident Jonnette Garske, driving across Smith Valley Road has been a nearly daily part of her routine, and she’s had to find alternate routes, sometimes cutting through neighborhoods to avoid construction and traffic.
Garske said she was a bit skeptical at first of whether a roundabout was appropriate at the intersection of Smith Valley and Yorktown roads, but said she is now looking forward to seeing how it will work once it is complete.
Greenwood resident Al Tripp, who said he only occasionally passes through construction areas in Johnson County, said he hasn’t found the work to be an inconvenience, and it’s something that just has to happen.
“I understand why it has to be done,” he said.
Here are some of the areas where construction is happening in Greenwood this summer:
Smith Valley Road: A roundabout is under construction at the Yorktown Road intersection. Work is on schedule to be complete by the end of July.
State Road 135: The road will be resurfaced and repaired between Curry Road and County Line Road, as well as from Bargersville to Stones Crossing Road.
U.S. 31: The road will be resurfaced and repaired from County Line Road to Stop 18 Road.