Busy Indianapolis interchange to undergo construction soon

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Carmel is gearing up to renovate and revamp a busy Indianapolis corridor.

The city’s engineer says they’ve had their sights set on 96th and Keystone for months. After some back and forth and legal hold ups, crews plan to start construction by the end of 2017.

Blueprints show that once construction is done, there will no longer be any traffic signals. Keystone will instead travel over 96th Street. Farther east on 96th, crews will turn several four-way stops into roundabouts. The work will begin at the main intersection first, so that the area will still be accessible. Then, they’ll work on the roundabouts at Delegates Row, Priority Way, Gray Road and Hazel Dell Parkway in halves.

Throughout the process, both roads will be down to one lane in each direction.

“I’ll probably go over to Meridian,” Matt Fechtman said.

Fechtman uses the busy corridor every day. He’s looking forward to fewer stops and less traffic.

“Construction will be a little bit of a pain,” he said. “But once the roundabouts are in, they’ll be fine.”

Drivers have complained about congestion for years. Carmel’s engineers say about 85,000 vehicles pass through the area every day.

“The interchange is one of the most and highest accident interchanges in the state,” Jeremy Kashman said.

Kashman, who helped design the new traffic plan, pointed to the success that Carmel has had with their traffic plan.

"We’ve seen that roundabouts improve not only traffic flow but safety,” he explained. “In 2016, we had less personal injury accidents than we did in 1996. When you look at the fact that we went from 30,000 people to 90,000 people, that proves what we’re doing transportation-wise in Carmel is a good thing.”

Kashman believes that once the traffic signals are torn down at 96th and Keystone, the congestion will clear up.

“I personally have waited in line at rush hour for up to 8-10 minutes to get through the signal,” he laughed.

Business owners near 96th and Keystone are cautiously optimistic. Crews plan to cut into several shop and restaurant parking lots to make room for roadway. While none were willing to speak on camera about what they anticipate during construction, several said they have “accepted that it’s needed.”

Construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2018. Kashman said some utility work may spill into 2019. He suggests drivers download the Carmel Link app, so that they can stay up-to-date on work plans, lane closures and delays.

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