Town: median U-turn is safest option


By Dan Domsic

A new configuration for turning into St. George Orthodox Christian Church, 10748 E. 116th St., is on the horizon.

A small turn lane is used for access if a motorist is traveling eastbound on 116th Street and must turn left into the church.

During a work session, the Fishers Town Council green-lit a plan that would close that left turn lane and configure the traffic so that motorists needing to turn left into the church must continue Eastbound in a lane with a median on one side. At the end of the median, motorists must make a U-turn to head west and turn into the church and a handful of other driveways.

The same pattern follows for those heading west on the street. The project had been previously approved by the council but a bid for it had not been awarded.

It also originally called for “bump outs,” a widening of the street’s pavement at each U-turn. Town Manager Scott Fadness said at the work session the bump outs would not be implemented immediately, but phased-in if needed.

With the bump outs, the project costs more than $330,000. Town of Fishers Director of Engineering Jeff Hill said a cost estimate subtracting them was unavailable.

The church will be paying for the project.

At the work session, Hill also detailed two alternatives to solve the turning issue. After concerns for the U-turn plan were raised by the area’s stakeholders, a meeting was held at the end of July with the town, A&F Engineering, the church and neighbors to take a final look at the project.

Before the meeting occurred V. Rev. Father Nabil Hanna said the church was not formally requesting a change.

He said the church wanted what was safest, wanted their neighbors to be happier with the plan, but weren’t going to back down on their commitments.

“Above all, it’s got be safe,” he said.

Safety had been a concern for people in the area since at least last summer. The process leading up to the project’s status today began as far back as spring 2012, and among other steps taken, a contract for the completion of the project’s design was approved by the council in December, according to Hill.

At the Aug. 5 work session, Hill rolled out two additional plans, one of which would call for a frontage road.

Ultimately, the conclusion came back to the median U-turn design.

“We went back to the drawing board and came up with the most creative options we could,” Fadness said, “and we still come back to this option seems to be the safest for all the residents of Fishers, and probably the most cost effective.”

Fritz Kreutzinger’s, 61, is a resident heavily impacted by the design.

“It’s been massaged everyway it could be massaged,” he said.

Hill said the town must refine the bids for the project since the design was altered.

The bid will be awarded at the Aug. 19 council meeting.