When Center Grove area resident Jacki Caviston heads north on State Road 37 to work each day, she uses Stones Crossing Road to get on the highway.
But when Interstate 69 replaces State Road 37, she’ll have to adjust her route as no interchange is coming to that location.
Instead, she will use an access road that will be built alongside the interstate to get from Stones Crossing Road to an interchange. Stones Crossing will end in a cul-de-sac.
She and about 100 people attended an Indiana Department of Transportation meeting Thursday night at Center Grove High School to see the near-final plans for I-69. Transportation officials detailed the decisions to eliminate an overpass that would have taken traffic on Stones Crossing over the interstate, add a roundabout at Mullinix Road to keep traffic from backing up near the Smith Valley Road interchange and make I-69 four lanes, rather than six, from Martinsville to Smith Valley Road.
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While an overpass had been previously planned at Stones Crossing Road, the state decided to remove the overpass due to feedback from nearby residents who said it wasn’t needed, because adding an access road would take traffic to the next interchange and to cut costs.
Residents weren’t given a chance to ask questions at the meeting, but they were able to sign up for individual meetings where state officials will come to their homes and discuss how the project will impact their property and how the right-of-way and easement acquisition will work.
Once the I-69 route is approved in 2018, state officials will begin the process of purchasing property along the route, prior to construction of the interstate beginning in 2020.
With the route, interchanges and overpasses nearly finalized for I-69, what Johnson County residents want to know is how they will be able to get across and onto I-69 and how local roads are going to be able to handle the additional vehicles exiting the interstate and perhaps going east to Interstate 65.
Once I-69 is complete, Caviston will have to adjust her commute, either heading south to the County Road 144 interchange or north to Smith Valley Road, which lengthens her drive to work and dilutes some of the benefits of getting an interstate route, she said.
Another Center Grove area resident, Steve Wilson, shared those concerns, saying he would have preferred to have a interchange at Stones Crossing Road as well.
Wilson, whose wife Roxann Wilson commutes to Bloomington for work, said that they wanted more information about the construction schedule, so they could plan how that will impact her drive to work.
Construction on the final I-69 section is set to begin in Martinsville in 2020 and work its way north to Interstate 465 by 2027, but Wilson said he’s wanting a more specific timetable on when lanes will be closed and when work will be going through the Center Grove area.
For other residents, the concern wasn’t about getting onto the interstate, it was about all of the traffic that would be getting off, and the impact those vehicles would have on the county’s already busy east-west routes, including Smith Valley Road, Worthsville Road and County Road 144.
Carl Freed, who lives in the Carefree neighborhood west of State Road 135 and north of Smith Valley Road, said that even the current traffic levels make exiting his neighborhood onto Smith Valley Road a time-consuming task.
He’s concerned about already-congested streets such as Smith Valley Road will be like when drivers use them to travel between I-65 and I-69.
Busy roads are a concern in Bargersville as well. Roger Hitz, who lives on County Road 144 about a mile east of the proposed I-69 route, said the county needs to make improvements to the road, such as adding lanes and straightening out curves, or it will become unsafe to travel once I-69 is complete.