Jeremy Kashman joked when his kids asked him what he did for a living one day.
“I kind of mess with people’s lives every day,” said Kashman, Carmel director of engineering. “I say that jokingly but take that very seriously. We make decisions that impact your daily commute and impact taking your kids to school and soccer. It’s always great to hear someone say, ‘Ever since you put that roundabout in my city, it took 10 minutes off my commute.’ These projects we’re doing have a positive impact on a daily basis on people’s lives.”
Kashman, Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt and Fishers Director of Engineering Jason Taylor updated the OneZone luncheon crowd on road construction April 17 at 502 East Event Centre in Carmel.
Heirbrandt said the ribbon cutting on the first phase is set for June on the Lowes Way “flyover” road, which will allow motorists who drive 146th Street to head south on Keystone.
“It’s one of the popular projects when we go to talk around the county,” Heirbrandt said. “When I went to a chamber meeting and announced it was one of the projects we were working on, that’s the only project people stood up and gave a standing ovation for it.”
Heirbrandt said the project is going to relieve a lot of traffic and congestion. He said the second phase will be a connection for people who want to drive east or west between Range Line Road, Keystone Parkway and Lowes Way.
That will keep people from cutting through Clay Terrace, Heirbrandt said.
Heirbrandt gave an update on Ind. 37, which is a partnership between Hamilton County, Noblesville, Fishers and the state.
“We were seeing people were not taking State Road 37. They were taking Allisonville Road and we were seeing a lot of deterioration on some of the other side streets because of all the congestion,” he said.
Heirbrandt said officials sought to have input on the project.
“We heard a lot of citizens say they did not get a lot of input on U.S. 31 (construction) and didn’t listen to the businesses,” Heirbrandt said. “We wanted to protect those businesses that are along that (Ind. 37) corridor. We wanted control over this particular project, not the state.”
Heirbrandt said an Indiana Dept. of Transportation representative said in a meeting that included then-Gov. Mike Pence that INDOT has a certain way of doing it and the city couldn’t have control. Heirbrandt began asking the INDOT representative when trucks were delivered to two auto dealerships.
“He said he didn’t know and where was I going with this,” Heirbrandt said. “I said we know when they come and we want to work with those people during the construction. We had 60-plus meetings with homeowners associations, businesses along the corridor. We invested in $250,000 from the county along with $250,000 from the City of Fishers to do a marketing campaign to make sure we advertise and we make it easier for people to get to those businesses.”
Heirbrandt said they are working on Allisonville Road and the 146th Street interchange project.
“It’s going to be a pain with all the construction projects,” Heirbrandt said. “When this gets done, it’s going to transform that whole side of Hamilton County.”
Kashman gave an update on the Monon Boulevard project.
“We are building a one-way roadway network on either side of the Monon and placing separate facilities along the Monon for bikes and pets,” Kashman said. “We are putting focus on walkable blocks and then within each block, create some placemaking within the right-of-way for you to bring family and friends to enjoy.”
Kashman also addressed Range Line Road construction.
“We are taking our old five-lane section and turning it into a road on either side with landscaping and really trying to bring out the walkability and bike friendliness of the city,” Kashman said. “We often get questions on why we are focused on bikes, directly adjacent to the Monon Trail. But if you’ve been on the Monon Trail lately, it’s getting pretty crowded. I’ve actually heard comments from people that don’t ride it because it’s too busy.”
Taylor returned to work for the city in early April. He previously was assistant director of engineering for Fishers before leaving to take an INDOT position in the Greenfield District.
“I feel on the local side we are able to listen and try to brainstorm on some of the issues people are having,” Taylor said.