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Changes ahead for west side roadway

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Carr Hill Road on the city’s growing west side will be closed for six months beginning Monday to make it wider and safer.

Carr Hill starts at Jonathan Moore Pike and travels south between Menards and Walmart. It then goes west, turning into Youth Camp Road near Harrison Lakes. Drivers know it is a narrow, twisting roadway lacking curbs, gutters, storm sewers or bike lanes.

But that is about to change.

Improvements will include wider traffic lanes and the addition of curbs, gutters, some storm sewers and bicycle paths, Mayor Kristen Brown said.

The road will still be two lanes wide but will be several feet wider than it is now, City Engineer Beth Fizel said.

Sidewalks will be added along both sides of the road.

More than 2,500 vehicles travel Carr Hill Road each day. Within 15 years, city officials expect traffic volume to increase by 40 percent.

“Significant growth on the west side of our community has substantially increased traffic on Carr Hill Road,” Brown said. “We want to ensure everyone who travels on the road can do so safely, including motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.”

A single lane through the construction zone will be allowed for emergency vehicles and school buses, but regular traffic will not be allowed, Fizel said.

Residents who live along the closed section are being notified how to use the shortest route in and out of the construction area when traveling to and from their homes.

The city is asking all other motorists to avoid the construction area and use other routes, including Jonesville Road to County Road 200S and Jonathan Moore Pike to Goeller Boulevard and then to Terrace Lake Road.

The city set the stage for beginning the Carr Hill project last fall by doing utility relocation, Brown said.

The city wants the road work completed and Carr Hill reopened by Oct. 5, although weather delays could affect that schedule, according to the city engineering department. The deadline is April 5 of next year for completing sidewalk work, tree planting and other finishing touches that do not require keeping the road closed, Fizel said.

Columbus and Bartholomew County are planning for the work to occur about the same time, with the city taking care of 2,964 feet of roadway between Terrace Lake Road and the Interstate 65 overpass.

While the city closes its section, the county will widen the roadway by a couple of feet and add curbs in its section east from the I-65 overpass, said Danny Hollander, Bartholomew County engineer.

Total cost will be about $2 million, with the city portion of the project at $1.8 million. The city has paid 20 percent of the project cost to the Indiana Department of Transportation, Fizel said. The remaining 80 percent will be paid by the federal government.

The county improvements have been estimated at $250,000, to be paid through the county’s highway fund and supplemented by economic development income tax money, Hollander said. The county’s plans call for a sidewalk on only the north side of its portion.

A start date for the county’s road work hasn’t been set, Hollander said. The work will be done within the six-month window during which the city closes the road to avoid further inconvenience to residents and motorists, he said.

Hollander estimated the county’s section can be completed within a month and will not require complete closing of the road. One lane will be left open during the county roadwork to allow residents to get to and from their homes, he said.

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