For two months, a Center Grove area resident detouring around road construction has peeked past the barricades to find no workers, no equipment moving and little progress being made.
Walter Aldorisio, who lives in the Hickory Stick Crossing, hasn’t been able to use the neighborhood entrance near his home since it was closed in June due to construction on Whiteland Road. Whenever he drives along the east end of the project, there’s no one working, he said.
But that’s about to change.
The ongoing work to widen and improve Whiteland Road between Saddle Club and Morgantown roads is on schedule to be finished by the end of October, and motorists should see more people and machinery working on the project by next month, said Brad Stahley, of CrossRoad Engineers.
The project will widen the road to allow for more traffic so motorists can use the stretch of road as part of an east-west corridor through the county.
Whiteland Road will be the west leg of the corridor that will connect with U.S. 31 and Worthsville Road to eventually connect with the new Interstate 65 interchange in Greenwood.
The project costs $6 million, and is being paid for with money collected from the county’s wheel tax.
Construction crews had been exclusively working on the new roundabout at Morgantown Road on the west end of the project in June and July, so the intersection could open by the time school started.
Workers are now building the base of the road for wider lanes near the center of the project, so they can’t be seen from either end of where the road is closed, Stahley said.
“Up until about two weeks ago, almost all of the resources were being spent on the roundabout to get that open for the schools,” Stahley said. “In 10 days from now we’ll be making a mess right next to Saddle Club Road. We’ve been chugging along.”
Aldorisio is ready for construction to finish, and has been waiting and detouring around road closures since last year, he said. Aldorisio has to detour around the project to Smokey Row Road, which takes him about a half-mile out of his way.
“It’s a nuisance, a pain in the neck,” he said.
The second phase of the project includes about twice as much work as the first phase completed last year because of the construction of the roundabout and wider road entrances to Hickory Stick and Hickory Estates subdivisions, Stahley said. The second phase of the project was scheduled to take six months, compared to four months on the first phase, and construction is on schedule, he said.
Hickory Stick Golf Club hasn’t seen a notable drop in players because of construction, but golfers are talking about their struggles to get around the construction, especially when Morgantown Road was closed while the roundabout was being built, owner Chip Essig said.
“When it was blocked off at Morgantown, it was pretty difficult to give directions to get people around to us. I’m sure a few people have skipped us because they didn’t want to deal with it. We’re definitely looking forward to it being done,” he said.
Now, the roundabout is open but the 1-mile section of Whiteland Road remains closed.
In October, construction crews will close Whiteland Road, between State Road 135 and Morgantown Road, for about a week to put down a final layer of asphalt.
The first phase of the project has not yet received a final coat of asphalt, and manhole covers were left sticking up from the road that create large bumps for drivers who hit them, Stahley said.
That phase of construction finished in winter, so workers couldn’t pave that section of the road because of the cold weather. In October, the 2-mile area will all be paved at the same time, creating a smoother surface than if the first section had been paved earlier, Stahley said.