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Utility work delays opening

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If you’ve been waiting to start driving Worthsville Road again at U.S. 31, you won’t get a chance until next year.

Utility companies that are supposed to move underground lines have been delayed, which has stalled construction on the half-mile stretch between

U.S. 31 and the railroad tracks. Greenwood won’t be able to reopen that stretch by the winter as originally planned, director of community development services Mark Richards said.

The city had planned to have at least two lanes of Worthsville Road open between U.S. 31 and Interstate 65 by winter to allow through traffic.

Since workers haven’t been able to do much west of the railroad tracks, they’ve been making progress on other sections of the road. They’ve made the most progress between the tracks and Sheek Road, so all four new lanes will be ready by winter. From Sheek Road to I-65, two lanes will be open as originally planned and the roundabout work at the Sheek Road intersection is on schedule, too.

By the time construction ceases this winter, workers will have completed as much as the city hoped in year one, just not in all the intended places, Richards said. He still expects all four lanes to be complete and reopened on schedule by November 2015.

“That’s still a hittable target,” he said.

Greenwood ran into two delays with getting utilities relocated in the section nearest to U.S. 31 that are still being resolved. Workers can’t start rebuilding the road until the utilities are moved, Richards said.

The city has just about solved an issue with BP Pipeline to move an underground pipe near the bridge over Grassy Creek. A settlement agreement has been worked out and BP’s attorneys are in final review, city attorney Krista Taggart said.

Greenwood isn’t as close in working with AT&T and the Indiana & Louisville railroad to get an underground fiberoptic line moved from near the rails, Richards said. The line runs along the west side of the railroad tracks and needs to be lowered about 55 feet so that crews can put in new storm sewers under the rails that will empty into a retention pond, Richards said.

The city had an agreement worked out with CSX Corp., who sold the line to Indiana & Louisville. That agreement didn’t get transferred as part of the deal, Richards said. The fiberoptic line was supposed to have been moved by mid-June and still hadn’t been touched as of this week, he said.

Greenwood could open the unpaved section to some traffic, but won’t because of the condition of the Grassy Creek bridge. The bridge is failing and needs to be replaced and could collapse if heavy trucks going to nearby factories or drivers are repeatedly driving over it through winter, Richards said.

Drivers will be able to travel east and west from the railroad tracks to I-65 this winter, though. Workers also will have completed work on 75 percent of the roundabout and will shut down the northern entrance into the intersection from Sheek Road. That means the partially-done roundabout will work like a three-way intersection until the rest of the work is completed next year, Richards said.

Since Greenwood has worked to keep the intersection partially open, the city will need to put up extra signs to help people navigate the intersection. Traffic coming from the south or heading west would enter the roundabout by going left, or clockwise, which is something drivers will never do once the roundabout is completed, Richards said.

“It’s one of the challenges of trying to build a roundabout without closing it down,” he said.

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