Residents on Carmel’s eastside have dealt with several simultaneous road closures this summer. One has lasted nearly three times longer than projected. The city recently announced good and bad news regarding roundabouts under construction.
The good news is, 116th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway is scheduled to open by Aug. 19 or sooner. This project began on June 5.
The bad news is, 136th and Gray Road, which was originally expected to open in mid-June, is delayed again because of utilities. As a result, there’s no projected opening date as of press time. The project began April 24, but utility issues and the discovery of an ancient artifact at the site have caused delays.
“It would be nice to be able to say it was any one thing, but it was one thing after another thing after another thing,” said Josh Kirsh, Carmel’s engineering administrator.
City councilor Sue Finkam, who represents northeast Carmel, said residents are frustrated by the closure. She even started a contest on her council Facebook page where people can guess the date that the 136th Street and Gray Road roundabout will open. The winner will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card from Finkam.
“It’s frustrating, but we are just going to have to be patient because there isn’t much else we can do,” she said.
Finkam said she’s been told state law prohibits the city from punishing the utility companies for delays and that the Indiana State Legislature would need to get involved.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he would like to see “more teeth” when it comes to state law regarding utilities and construction.
“There’s no state law that requires that utilities get out of the way in a timely manner,” he said. “There should be a penalty. It costs the public and the city money. It’s very inconvenient for motorists. Unfortunately, in our system, these monopolies think they can do anything they want and local government can’t really do anything about it.”
Beyond the eastside, the city announced that the Carmel Drive and Guilford Road roundabout is scheduled to open Sept. 2 or earlier, weather permitting.
Several upcoming closures were also announced:
- 126th Street and Gray Road: Scheduled to close on or after Aug. 21 for construction of a new roundabout. The project should take 60 days to complete, weather permitting.
- City Center Drive and Guilford Road: Scheduled to close on or after Sept. 5 for construction of a new roundabout. The project should take 45 days to complete, weather permitting.
- River Road south of 146th Street: Closed between 146th Street and Community Drive on or after Aug. 21 for a reconstruction project expected to last until Thanksgiving. The project will include a new two-lane boulevard and a new roundabout at Cherry Creek Boulevard.
Kirsh said the summer of 2018 will likely be one of the busiest construction seasons in Carmel.
““We really appreciate everybody’s patience while we are making this massive boom right now,” he said. “We are really sure come fall as we’re wrapping up these projects everybody’s going to have a deep sigh of relief.”