Judge rules against Carmel to halt 96th St. roundabout projects


A special judge has put a temporary halt on Carmel’s plans to build four different roundabouts along 96th Street because some Indianapolis officials are against the projects.

The city had plans to build roundabouts at Hazel Dell Parkway, Gray Road, Delegates Row and Randall Drive, but Indianapolis City County Councilor Christine Scales opposes those projects and won’t sign off on their construction, even though the Carmel would pay for 100 percent of the cost.

The two cities have agreed to Carmel’s roundabouts along 96th Street between Haverstick Road and Priority Way, including 96th Street and Keystone Parkway.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he would proceed with roundabout construction even without Scales’s blessing because, “state law requires that Carmel builds, maintains, shovels snow, salts and polices this boundary road at our expense,” Brainard said.

Indianapolis filed a lawsuit in June and on Aug. 10 Boone County Judge Matt Kincaid granted the preliminary injunction. He wouldn’t grant a permanent injunction, which Brainard told Current he thinks is a small victory.

“It’s a preliminary ruling,” he said. “It’s not permanent. I’m very encouraged because the judge ordered Indianapolis to meet so I see this as progress.”

Previously, Scales had refused to meet with Brainard to discuss the matter. Brainard said he believes he can work out a deal through remediation because he said others in Indianapolis see these roundabouts as a positive, especially considering that Carmel will foot the bill. There’s no date set for that meeting yet.

Kincaid wrote that he thinks that Carmel has to receive permission from Indianapolis to build these projects.

“There is harm to Indianapolis’s territorial integrity as a city from Carmel unilaterally acting within it,” he stated.

Kincaid said that Carmel knew that an interlocal agreement was needed to begin these projects.

“The harm that Carmel is at risk for with increased costs, utility fines, impact on other projects has been brought about, to a degree, by Carmel itself,” he wrote. “Carmel knew that Indianapolis believed an interlocal was required and it knew of some risk that it might not get one.”