By Sadie Hunter
The Noblesville Common Council, at its Feb. 9 meeting, unanimously showed support for the revamping of Ind. 37 through Noblesville and Hamilton Co., something the mayor, several councilors and city attorney Mike Howard agreed has been a long time in the making.
The resolution for an interlocal agreement between INDOT, Hamilton Co., the City of Fishers and the City of Noblesville will pave the way for the municipalities to get rid of all stoplight intersections from 126th Street north through the Ind. 38/32 junction.
“I think of all the great things that have been done in the last 20 years, and probably the next 20 years, the project that will provide the greatest joy to our citizens is getting the stoplights off State Road 37,” Howard said upon introducing the resolution to the council. “This agreement is the first step in doing that.”
Currently planned to be completed in two phases throughout the county, Noblesville’s portion is considered the second phase of the overall project.
With the approval of Noblesville’s interlocal agreement, Howard said the project will now move to INDOT to start the process, who will then work with the state and governor to provide $100 million toward the first intersections to be constructed – 126th, 131st, 141st and 146th Streets.
Howard said, similar to Keystone, Ind. 37 would travel underneath dog-bone style roundabouts connecting the east/west roads above the highway.
“(Keystone) is carrying about 40 percent more cars today than it did the last day that they had stoplights,” Howard said.
Financially, overall, Noblesville is estimated to put forth $16.5 million for the entire project – $12 million in the beginning, then another $4.5 million later to complete the project at Noblesville intersections of Greenfield Avenue, Pleasant Street and Town and Country Boulevard. Both the City of Fishers and Hamilton County will also contribute $16.5 million.
“The county and Fishers are putting in $12 million dollars toward that project as we speak,” Howard said. “Fishers is reviewing a request for proposals for engineering departments to do the initial survey and the environmental (study). That survey is expected to be completed by the end of the year. That study will be done clear to the north of the Pleasant Street interchange so that when our phase comes in, that part will be out of the way.”
Howard said the city is looking at the possibility of realigning some of its TIF, or tax increment financing, districts – which capture tax dollars from specific areas to be able to fund city improvement projects in the said areas – to be able to start construction on the first intersection of the project in 2019. “That’s about as aggressive as it’s going to be,” he said, clarifying that all changes to TIF districts will come before the city council for final approval.
“Under the agreement, jurisdiction transfers to the local entities during construction so that essentially Fishers will be in charge of managing the right of way, liability, all those issues and managing construction, and they get to do it under the watchful eye of INDOT, because at the end of the project, the road has to be turned back (over) to INDOT so they can get federal funding for maintenance. It has to meet all their standards. So, that’s how that project moves forward … The journey of 1,000 miles begins at the first step. These documents are the first step.”