State of County centers heavily on infrastructure


Infrastructure was a main topic at the State of the County address.

Hamilton County commissioners Mark Heirbrandt and Christine Altman delivered the State of the County address June 29 at the 4-H Fairgrounds Exhibition Center in Noblesville. Fellow county commissioner Steve Dillinger had delivered the address since 1989 but had to cancel his appearance because of testing positive for COVID-19.

The Ind. 37 interchange at 131st Street is nearing completion, Altman said. The construction cost was $30 million.

Heirbrandt said he was worried about complaints about the Ind. 37 and 146th Street interchange when construction started.

“There is a lot of traffic that goes through this one,” Heirbrandt said. “But we’re really pleased.”

The $30 million construction project is scheduled to be completed this fall.

“I really haven’t gotten a lot of complaints about 37 traffic around here,” Heirbrandt said. “We had over 80 meetings with homeowners’ associations and businesses.”

Altman said it was originally designed as a double roundabout, but with traffic increasing, INDOT said it had to be redesigned to a single-point urban intersection.

“It kind of made us cry a little bit because we wanted to have a signal-free corridor but it just isn’t possible,” Altman said.

Construction at the Ind. 37 interchange at 141st Street is pending. The construction cost is pending with supply chain cost increasing and it is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2024.

“Right now, it’s pending because there is a lot of utility risks that are there that have escalated the price,” Heirbrandt said. ‘We are going to move forward and get the utilities done, so we can take a lot of the risk out.”

Heirbrandt said very rarely in his nine years has a county project gone over budget.

“In this particular project, it’s had to happen,” Heirbrandt said.

Another project is the 146th Street and Allisonville Road interchange, which is slated to begin the spring of 2023. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2024, is estimated to cost $36.8 million, which will include $9.5 million in federal funds.

“With meetings with homeowners associations, we knew we had to address this sooner rather than later,” Heirbrandt said.

Heirbrandt showed the audience photos of traffic backing up for miles during rush hour.

The plan calls for 146th Street to go over Allisonville Road in a grade-separated interchange.

“The bad news is we are going to have to close Allisonville at that intersection for 90 days (during construction),” Altman said.

Heirbrandt said it’s unfortunate the county is dealing with inflation on all fronts, such as fuel, labor costs, materials, etc.

The commissioners said there are more than $50 million in reserves and rainy-day funds.

“We’re the only county in the state of Indiana that has a triple A bond rating,” Heirbrandt said. “We’re one of the only counties in the Midwest to have it.”

Heirbrandt said much of the credit goes to the watchful eye of the Hamilton County Council. Altman added the county tax rate did not increase.