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Indiana City Announces Major Roadway Improvements

Jeffersonville’s $19 million project will widen roads, add sidewalks and increase lighting to ease driving issues and improve child safety. Construction will begin in 2024, with hopes for completion two years later.

(TNS) — The City of Jeffersonville, Ind., has unveiled plans to widen and improve Charlestown Pike in coming years.

The city at a public meeting Tuesday presented the plans for the roadway improvements, allowing local residents to view the designs and talk with city officials and engineers about the plans.

The project will widen Charlestown Pike from Holmans Lane to Salem-Noble Road, as well as Utica-Sellersburg Road from Charlestown Pike to State Road 62.

This past year was the design phase, and in 2022, the city will begin to acquire land needed for the project. In 2023, the city will focus on utility relocation, and construction will begin in 2024. The construction is expected to take two years.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore describes the infrastructure project as a necessary step to increase safety and adapt to growth in the area. The traffic flow on Charlestown Pike has more than doubled since he began as mayor about a decade ago, he said.

"Obviously the City of Jeffersonville has grown by leaps and bounds with not only new jobs and industry, but also with families and the employees that are filling all these jobs," Moore said. "We still have a whole lot of farmland that's not farmed any more out this direction. If you came off of Veterans Parkway or Holmans Lane, you've seen a lot of new subdivisions pop up in the last couple of years."

Josh Darby, an engineer with Jacobi, Toomz and Lanz, is involved with the design of segment one of the Charlestown Pike project, as well as improvements on Utica-Sellersburg Road from Charlestown Pike to State Road 62.

The first segment of the Charlestown Pike project goes from Holmans Lane to Utica-Sellersburg Road.

"We are essentially looking at widening that very narrow roadway," Darby said. "Right now it's only 20-foot-wide on average, so it's a little tough to get two cars between, so what we're looking to do is widening that to a three-lane section. We're going to have one lane of traffic going each direction and a center turn lane with curb and gutters on each side. It's going to be very similar to what you see on Holmans Lane today minus the bike lanes."

The roadways in this segment will be widened by about nine feet on each side, Darby said. There will be sidewalks on each side.

On Utica-Sellersburg Road, the improvements will include the addition of curb and gutters to the 24-foot-wide road and adding a sidewalk to the south side.

Segment two is the section of Charlestown Pike from Utica-Sellersburg Road to Salem-Noble Road. This is an even narrower roadway that was measured at 18 feet wide, and the plan includes expanding it to 24 feet wide, according to Jeff Lazzell of United Consulting, a firm in Indianapolis that designed this segment of the project.

This segment will also include the addition of sidewalks and curb and gutters, he said.

"When we get to the areas where we have subdivision entrances, we'll do a configuration where when you're traveling south on Charlestown Pike, there will be a separate left turn lane for you to turn into that subdivision, so you won't be blocking traffic, there won't be the potential there for you to get rear-ended from a car coming up behind you," Lazzell said.

Existing turn lanes will remain where they are in this segment.

Moore said features such as the addition of sidewalks and widening of lanes will not only "make it easier for cars to get around and turn into the subdivisions that are here, it's going to make it a whole lot easier and safer for kids." He described some of the issues he saw when his family lived in a nearby subdivision.

"One thing that was lacking when we lived there was there was no sidewalks to get around to multiple different subdivisions where all the kids' friends lived," Moore said. "I want to make sure with all this new development and residential growth, we've got a safe way for kids to get around. Those sidewalks will be a huge part of that project."

At first, the city was hoping to complete the project for about $17 million, but as the plans adapted to include features such as curb and gutter improvements, lighting at entrances of subdivisions and the addition of wide sidewalks, it has grown to a $19-million project, Moore said.

"These were nice county roads in the times that there used to farmers and wagons with hay, and now there are minivans pulling their kids to school, so it's an important project, it's an expensive project, but it's a project that we need to do for all the growth that's come to our city," he said.

The project will use TIF funding and "will have no bearing" on residents' taxes, according to Moore.

"This project is paid for by all those new jobs and new businesses that have come into Jeff — we're using the revenue and the TIF dollars that they are paying into, and this what we're doing this infrastructure project with," he said.

Since the city presented its first community input meeting in April, it has received more than 150 suggestions from residents, according to Moore.

A number of residents asked questions about the plans and voiced concerns about the roadways involved in the project. Topics ranged from speeding to zoning issues.

Mike Adams was one of the residents who participated in the meeting. His family owns farm property at the intersection of Charlestown Pike and Holmans Lane, and he is concerned that ongoing drainage issues at the property "could be made much worse as well as encroaching onto the farm property."

He said he wants to know more details about how the project would affect his property and the area, and he has some concerns about the widening of the roadway.

"We already have semis traveling this road, and the last thing we need for it to be is a shortcut from Interstate 56 to Amazon because the road got wider," he said. "It's bad enough with semis as it is."

Darby said the project will offer "a huge safety improvement" in the area.

"This is going to be huge for safety as well as access into a number of residential developments along Charlestown Pike," he said.

(c)2021 The Evening News and The Tribune (Jeffersonville, Ind.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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