U.S. 31 at Southern Crossing to close for roundabout construction

Beginning Thursday, U.S. 31 at Southern Crossing will be closed to traffic for up to two months, state highway officials confirmed this afternoon.

A roundabout will be built there to reduce serious injuries at the accident-prone intersection, said Harry Maginity, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation.

While detours have been marked for months, the last-minute confirmation announced late Wednesday may take several motorists by surprise. Originally, state highway engineers planned to wait until next year to install the roundabout, said Danny Hollander, Bartholomew County highway engineer.

But when State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, met with deputy INDOT commissioner Anthony McClellan in February, the deputy commissioner said it made sense to do it now.

That’s because the highway is currently undergoing an $8.4 million renovation in southern Bartholomew County and northern Jackson County, Hollander said.

Although INDOT made the decision to move up the project to this year in April, it wasn’t determined until late last week that engineers decided to start the closure on Thursday, Maginity said.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.