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Carmel prepares businesses for 96th Street corridor improvements

After months of outreach to individual business owners and community members, the City of Carmel is preparing to unveil more detailed drawings and plans for this year’s launch of the two-year 96th Street Corridor Improvement Project, scheduled to get underway this spring. The City will be transforming traffic flow and improving access to businesses along this busy corridor from White River to Keystone Parkway, focusing on five intersections in 2017, with substantial completion by the end of 2018.

“We are being proactive in getting the word out about this exciting project that will better serve motorists traveling to and from Fishers and Indianapolis. Similar to the efforts made when we upgraded Keystone Parkway several years ago, we have focused our efforts on making sure our local business owners are prepared for the upcoming construction,” said Mayor Jim Brainard. “Since Hamilton County built the bridge over White River, traffic has continued to grow along this corridor, which is home to a number of car dealerships and businesses. Our experience has shown that by replacing these congested intersections with roundabouts, we will make this corridor safer and easier to use, especially for commuters.”

The City plans to meet again with groups of local car dealers, restaurants and other businesses over the next few weeks to continue the outreach with the new updated plans. Neighborhood group meetings are also being scheduled for residents who live in the vicinity and will be impacted by construction. The most updated information available to the public is already posted on the Carmel Link 2.0 website, which is the home for all information regarding to Carmel’s road construction projects.

Although 96th Street is shared by both the City of Carmel and the City of Indianapolis, state law requires that Cities on the north side of such common roadways handle all matters of construction, reconstruction, improvements and maintenance. An estimated average of 85,000 vehicles use 96th Street and Keystone Parkway each day with traffic studies indicating that number will increase dramatically over the next 5-10 years.

The list of corridor projects will serve commuters, shoppers and visitors by considerably reducing congestion along the 5-lane corridor across the southern border of Carmel. The cost of the corridor projects is estimated to be approximately $43 million, with $8.5 million coming from federal exchange dollars administered through the Indiana Department of Transportation, $2 million from Hamilton County, $1.9 million in federal Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality improvement program funds and the rest from local County Option Income Tax bonds.

Construction plans call for the replacement of traffic lights at key intersections with roundabouts. Those intersections include:

∎96th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway

∎96th Street and Gray Road

∎96th Street and Delegates Row

∎96th Street and Priority Way

∎96th Street and Keystone Parkway (preliminary work begins in 2017)

The Keystone Parkway portion of the project will include construction of a major new interchange in 2018 with grade separation – Keystone will be elevated over 96thStreet – and roundabout controlled ramps similar to other Keystone Parkway interchanges from 106th Street to U.S. 31 at 146th Street. After preliminary work this year, the interchange will be largely completed next year in a project that will include the incorporation of one more intersection improvement, 96th Street and Haverstick Road, west of Keystone.

The City plans to maintain traffic throughout the project – one lane open in each direction – although restrictions will be in place as each intersection is upgraded. In addition to the road work, construction will also include curbs and gutters to better collect and mitigate storm water and multi-use paths along the north side of the road to increase much-needed pedestrian connectivity.

Construction is expected to start in summer 2017 at Delegates Row and Gray, in September at Priority Way and Hazell Dell and will begin with construction of roundabouts. Each of those will be completed by the end of the year. Additionally in September, look for preparation work to begin in the right of way areas (but off the roadway) for the 96th and Keystone interchange project.

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