SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Nov. 17, 2014) – The first roundabout is now open for drivers in Speedway.
Town officials say it’s supposed to make it a safer intersection for drivers every day, and for the thousands of fans who drive and walk around the area during Indianapolis Motor Speedway events.
“That intersection was one of the most difficult intersections for traffic and accidents, so this was an opportunity to clear a traffic problem,” IMS President Doug Boles said.
Crews broke ground on the 15-million dollar project in June. The roundabout now connects 16th Street, Main Street and Crawfordsville Road.
“I didn't know what I would find—I knew it opened today—but it's a breeze,” Sheila Ogden said after driving around it on Monday.
People who live in the area say it’s a relief to know construction is over.
“I live just a block and a half from here. I'm just grateful that it's open so I don't have to detour and sit in traffic, because it was difficult to get around,” Speedway Resident Holly Hardsaw said.
Town officials also say, besides the goal to create a better intersection, it was also about connecting it to Main Street.
“What they wanted to do was, figure out a way to let people know it was here. With the last intersection you couldn't see it,” Boles said.
Near-by business owners hope it’s a chance to bring-in more foot traffic to the area.
“We’re now tied in to the roundabout. Before, Main Street had always been kind of segregated from everything, so we're looking to having some new people come in,” Main Attraction Antique Mall Owner Connie Norton said.
"We're hoping it will really impact business and bring a lot of people here,” she said.
“It was the hardest thing to explain to people how to get to Main Street from anywhere -- Now we can say, come to the roundabout and go south,” Co-owner of Dawson’s Restaurant Chris Hill said.
"It's going to be a lot easier for people to get here,” Hill said.
Speedway Police watched the roundabout Monday to make sure traffic ran smoothly. Town officials also hosted a driving class earlier this month to make sure drivers were prepared.