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Carmel and Indianapolis in feud over 96th Street roundabouts

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- An Indianapolis City-County Council member is trying to stop Carmel city leaders from building several roundabouts along the 96th Street corridor that she says are not needed and will hurt businesses in the area.

However, Carmel's Director of Engineering Jeremy Kashman said Carmel plans to move on with its plans and the roundabouts will improve traffic flow and safety in the area.

“We’ll see improved traffic, probably even see speeds go down a little bit because traffic can move more efficiently throughout the corridor," Kashman said.

City-County Council woman Christine Scales, D-Indianapolis, represents the businesses along 96th Street that are in Marion County. She along with the Department of Public Works signed an inter-local agreement between Carmel and Indianapolis for Carmel to build roundabouts at 96th and Keystone and the two intersections on either side of Keystone.

She believed after signing that agreement that Carmel was not going to pursue its plans for four more roundabouts on the 96th Street, which include Gray Road, Hazel Dell Parkway, Delagates Row and Randall Drive.

“Well first of all I think they are a solution to problem that doesn’t exist," Scales said. "I think that the destruction, the hurt they will cause economically to the businesses along E. 96th Street will be greater than the benefits realized.”

But, the City of Carmel sees it very different and is planning to move forward with the project with or without Scales' blessing.

"I’m moving forward until I get told differently," Kashman said.

Scales said she doesn't intend to sign an agreement for the additional roundabouts and Indianapolis Department of Public Works Spokeswoman Betsy Whitmore said the agency won't approve any agreement without Scales' blessing.

“Quite frankly (if Carmel builds the roundabouts without Indianapolis' permission) it would create chaos in the State of Indiana because every county has entered into interlocal agreements," Scales said.

This situation should come to resolution soon. Carmel is scheduled to start construction on two of the roundabouts that have not been approved by Indianapolis in June. Carmel is footing the bill for the all the roundabouts.