Communities fight traffic congestion by taking control of state highway

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Officials with the Indiana Department of Transportation are in the final stages of talks to relinquish control of State Road 267 to Brownsburg, Avon, and Hendricks County, potentially opening the door for more road improvements at the local level.

In Brownsburg, town officials call the idea a ‘win-win’ for traffic-weary drivers.

“You’ve got more than 20,000 cars a day going down this stretch right here,” said town Councilman Rob Kendall. “If somebody tries to go left or has to stop, it stops everything for blocks at a time.”

And that’s exactly why town officials are hoping to get control of the highway from the state.

“We don’t control this road,” said Kendall. “We don’t make the decisions that go on it, so hopefully if we get that local control, we’ll be able to say ‘we hear you and we’re going to make it happen.'”

Kendall and others are pushing for a plan that would widen SR 267 between 56th and Main streets, allowing for more lanes of traffic into downtown Brownsburg.

But some residents who live along that stretch don’t support the idea.

“There’s not a lot of room,” said resident Michael Jones. “I feel like the road would be up here on my porch.”

Still, others are hoping the project gets the green light.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said resident Ann Hathaway. “I think Brownsburg is very congested and it would really alleviate a lot of traffic issues.”

“Being able to expand and improve what could be a major commercial corridor is going to benefit everybody,” said Kendall. “(It could) lower the tax rate and bring new businesses to Brownsburg. If we can obtain local control of this road, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Already, there are potential plans to put a new strip mall in along that stretch of road.

An INDOT official told Fox59 the agency was in the “last stages” of talks to finalize the relinquishment of State Road 267.

According to a statement provided by INDOT:

“Relinquishment means that INDOT hands over control of the road to the local government. Once a road is relinquished, the local government has the opportunity to plan and build construction projects along the corridor, issue permits for roadway access and conduct all maintenance on the roadway, including pothole patching and snow and ice removal. INDOT provides one-time funding to the local government at the relinquishment to offset some of the expenses the local government assumes when it takes over control of the roadway.”

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