In the past five years, a water park, a new school and hundreds of homes have been built in an area around a four-way stop sign in Greenwood, leading to what is now a traffic headache.
Residents headed to their homes in neighborhoods, such as Clearbrook or Featherstone, can sometimes wait in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And if it’s summer, when Freedom Springs Aquatic Center is open, or if it’s around the start or end of the school day at Greenwood Middle School, drivers should be prepared to wait even longer.
Now, the city is seeking a federal grant to help pay for a $1.7 million project to add a roundabout at Stop 18 and Averitt roads. The intersection serves as an entrance to Freedom Park, which opened in 2009, Freedom Springs Aquatic Center which opened in 2015, and the newly constructed Greenwood Middle School, which opened this fall.
A 2012 study recommended putting a roundabout at the intersection to make traffic flow better through the area, Greenwood City Engineer Daniel Johnston said. Since then, the water park and school have both opened. Freedom Springs had an attendance of about 100,000 in its third season, with an average of more than 900 visitors each day it was open.
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Now, the intersection gets backed up during morning and evening rush hours, especially when accidents or construction on U.S. 31 have drivers taking Stop 18 Road as a detour.
If the grant is approved, the work would be done no earlier than 2022, and officials already are planning the work around the school year. Greenwood currently has three roundabouts, and two more are planned prior to the one at Stop 18 and Averitt roads.
Tom Hause, who lives in the Clearbrook neighborhood along Averitt Road across from the middle school, said he often avoids the intersection of Stop 18 and Averitt roads.
Getting a roundabout at that intersection would make it quicker to get through, especially with the traffic coming from the school, he said. The school, which opened this summer, has about 900 students.
A traffic study conducted in 2011 and an intersection study the following year both recommended that the city consider putting a roundabout at Averitt and Stop 18 roads, which currently is a four-way stop and the roads don’t directly align, Johnston said.
The city is requesting a grant from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization, which would cover 80 percent of the cost of the $1.7 million project, with the city picking up the remainder, he said.
Greenwood has added multiple roundabouts in the past few years, with city officials saying they are sometimes a safer alternative to installing traffic lights at intersections that have become too busy for stop signs. Greenwood currently has three roundabouts — at Smith Valley and Yorktown roads, Main Street and Averitt roads, and Worthsville and Sheek roads.
Next summer, a roundabout will be constructed at Smith Valley Road and Madison Avenue as part of a $3.4 million project to improve traffic flow where Smith Valley Road, U.S. 31 and Madison Avenue intersect.
In 2022, a roundabout will be built at Main Street and Yorktown Road with a $740,000 grant from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is responsible for distributing federal funding for transportation projects in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, including portions of Johnson County. In the previous round of grants, the organization awarded $59 million to projects.
Greenwood is requesting grants for two additional projects through the planning organization: a $562,000 project to install solar-powered, flashing speed signs in school zones; and a $4.3 million project to widen Smith Valley Road from two lanes to four lanes from Meridian Street to Emerson Avenue. As part of the Smith Valley Road project, Johnson County is covering the cost of replacing an aging bridge over the railroad tracks east of Meridian Street.
Greenwood has three roundabouts, has secured federal funding to construct two more and is requesting another grant for a roundabout to be constructed in 2022. Here’s a look at where Greenwood’s current and planned roundabouts are:
Main Street and Averitt Road
Worthsville and Sheek roads
Smith Valley and Yorktown roads
Smith Valley Road and Madison Avenue (2018)
Main Street and Meadowview Lane (2022)
Stop 18 and Averitt roads (2022)