GREENWOOD, Ind.– Construction on a new roundabout at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Smith Valley Road in Greenwood has been pushed back to June 11, according to city officials.
Closure of the intersection had been planned for this Friday, but Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers says construction on nearby Meridian Street won’t be finished by that time. So, the new date has been scheduled for June 11.
Once the roundabout project gets underway, it will result in the closure of one of the city’s busiest intersections. Roughly 30,000 vehicles pass through the intersection of Madison and Smith Valley every day.
“My suggestion is to find an alternate route now,” Myers said. “If you don’t need to be in that immediate area, just avoid it.”
The roundabout project is part of the overall effort to improve traffic flow as the population of Greenwood and the surrounding area continues to grow. The $3.7 milling project is 80-percent financed through federal grant funding. The city of Greenwood is covering 20 percent of the cost.
Phase one of the project will include construction of a roundabout at Madison and Smith Valley and a jug-handle turn from eastbound Smith Valley Road to northbound U.S. 31. That phase of the project is expected to last about three months.
It will be followed by another month of construction at Meridian Street and Smith Valley Road. Planners say either Meridian or Madison will be open to north-south traffic for the duration of the project.
Once complete, city engineers believe the roundabout will eliminate about 45 percent of traffic congestion through the complicated area. Drivers will have to endure several months of closures and construction through the summer.
“It’ll be a lot of confusion,” said Greenwood resident Warren Koop. “People saying, ‘how am I going to get from point A to point B?’”
“Probably nightmare is a good word,” said Greenwood resident Kay Anderson. “We’d better have some police patrol here. It’s going to be wild and crazy.”
Drivers told us they are not looking forward to the closure, but they are looking forward to the city’s newest roundabout.
“For the sake of he future of Greenwood, it’s probably the right thing to do,” Koop said. “It’s just going to be an inconvenience.”
“I am looking forward to a roundabout, I appreciate them in my driving now,” Anderson said.
Some nearby business owners are expressing frustration with continued construction in the downtown area. Between the Bun owner Scott Sims says construction projects near his restaurant in the 100 block of North Madison have hurt his bottom line in the last couple years.
“When they closed and operated on Madison Avenue two years ago, it cost me between $30,000-$40,000,” Sims said. “I expect this to be much worse, if I’m even able to survive it.”
Sims doesn’t believe city leaders care about how small business owners will endure the traffic changes and construction.
“They keep saying yes, your businesses are open, but they’re not marketing that,” Sims said. “They’re not doing anything, going out of the way to make sure people know how to get to us.”
Myers says only a small number of business owners have expressed concern about the road construction. He believes the completed project will help business owners down the road.
“I support the small businesses in the community,” Myers said. “I’ve always been a big supporter of our downtown area because that’s where I grew up, and I really support it and we’re trying to help it to bring more people into the downtown area.”
Drivers are encouraged to make plans now to avoid Madison Avenue at Smith Valley Road. Alternate routes could include Main Street and U.S. 31, as well as Meridian Street, which will remain open while the roundabout is being constructed. Worthsville Road can also be used to access I-65. When phase two of construction begins at Meridian and Smith Valley Road, Madison Avenue will be open to north-south traffic, Myers said.