One section of an east-west corridor through the county is being altered so that it won’t run past Clark Elementary School.
The proposed road will create a connection between Worthsville and Clark School roads, which is already a popular route between Interstate 65 and Interstate 74 near Shelbyville. Currently drivers have to make multiple turns and go through an S-curve to get from one to the other.
Traffic is expected to increase when an I-65 exit is opened at Worthsville Road in late 2015, and the new $3.6 million connector road was supposed to be built next year, too. But the county is changing where the road connects on the east end, which will make a straighter route and create a new intersection that could be the starting point for a final leg leading to Shelby County.
County officials have raised concerns that more traffic will travel past the school on the two-lane county road, which could be dangerous for buses or parents going in and out of the school. The change won’t solve traffic issues in front of the school, but the new intersection at Franklin Road would be a starting point for a future new road that would go north of the school, away from its main entrance, county highway director Luke Mastin said.
That kind of project would cost millions of dollars, so the county won’t be able to afford it without receiving another large federal grant and would be several years off at the minimum, Mastin said.
In the short term, the new path connecting at Franklin Road would have less of a curve and prevent the county from having to pay to move additional utilities that are located near the previous connection point, Mastin said.
Previously the county had plotted a route connecting the corners where Worthsville Road curves into Griffith Road, southeast to where County Road 700N bends west of Franklin Road. But the county asked the state to hold grant funding that had been awarded for an additional year, to change the path to a straighter line and build a new intersection with Franklin Road. Instead of connecting at or near a curve in Clark School Road, the connection at Franklin Road would be a traditional right-angle intersection.
The new road is planned to be part of the county’s east-west corridor, where traffic can quickly cross the county or get between I-74, I-65 and State Road 37, which will eventually become part of the southern section of Interstate 69. The new route will allow the county to eventually shift that traffic away from the school and homes in the future.
The new route of the connector road shows the county is listening to the district’s concerns about traffic in the area.
While the change will mean a delay in construction, keeping traffic away from the elementary school is a good decision and will be worth the wait.