Down the road: INDOT unveils $80M project along Ind. 32


Planned improvements on Ind. 32 between Westfield and Noblesville are expected to improve traffic flow and reduce the number of crashes as part of an $80 million project proposed by the Indiana Department of Transportation.

Preliminary design and environmental studies are ongoing, but the project will eventually expand the number of lanes from two to four and add seven roundabouts at different intersections, said Nick Batta, design project manager with Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, an engineering firm in Indianapolis. Batta spoke during an INDOT public meeting May 17 about the project at the Prairie Waters Event Center in Westfield that allowed the public to see what is being proposed and to ask questions.

However, actual construction on the federally funded project won’t take place until 2026 and will continue into 2027, according to Batta. The project is driven by ongoing congestion along the corridor, in addition to crashes that have been seen in the area with an average of about 110 per year, he said.

“That’s a big part of the foundation for the need of the project,” Batta said. “The alternative we proposed here is specifically targeting rear-end crashes, delays people have to (face) when they’re sitting in traffic today and reducing the amount of time it gets from downtown Westfield to downtown Noblesville.”

As part of the project, roundabouts are proposed at Carey Road/Grassy Branch Road, Gunther Boulevard, Moontown Road/Gray Road, Pebble Brook Boulevard/Hazel Dell Elementary School, Hazel Dell Road/Little Chicago Road, Mill Creek Road, in addition to one being added at Hague Road and the Pleasant Street extension that will be constructed by the City of Noblesville. The roundabouts will ease the flow of traffic and provide better access to side roads as well, Batta said.

An 8-foot asphalt path will also be added along both sides of the roadway, according to INDOT. The expanded lanes should also allow traffic to move more quickly through the corridor, Batta said.

“There’s so much traffic on (Ind.) 32, one lane each direction is not enough to handle it, so another lane is needed,” he said.

Westfield’s portion of road improvements will likely begin at the East Street intersection as part of the project, which will continue to the Mensa Drive intersection in Noblesville. Batta said officials don’t yet know the order of construction on the project, but that is anticipated to be known by the end of 2023.

“It’ll be in some sort of phases, exactly the phases, we don’t quite know yet, but we’ll know by the end of the year,” Batta said.

But Westfield residents such as Trisha Staneart say the proposed improvements are greatly needed. Staneart, who has lived in Westfield for 22 years, was among those who attended the INDOT open house primarily to find out information about the project.

Staneart said she has concerns about traffic congestion in the area, especially with construction of new homes being built. Safety is also an issue as well, particularly making a left-hand turn out of her subdivision, she added.

“That’s why I usually leave the house early when I go to work because I have a better chance of making a left-hand turn,” she said.

Still, she said she is looking forward to the proposed improvements down the road.

“I think they have to do something, and it’ll be different when it’s all said and done,” Staneart said. “Getting from Noblesville to Westfield and making that easier, yes, I’m happy about that.”

The public meeting was an opportunity for residents to offer feedback as INDOT continues to develop plans for the project, city spokesman Chris Proffitt said.

“Their input will be important in the final design,” he said. “We do know observationally there are more crashes when there are more cars in a certain area and you don’t have the wide-open lanes, so when you’re going to downtown Westfield, you have two lanes – one going east and one going west. To see that change as we get into State Road 32 expansion, plus the use of roundabouts, will be very significant as well because we do know that roundabouts are important in safety.”

Kyleigh Cramer, public relations director for INDOT’s East-Central District, said the agency is in the “communication and conversation phase of construction” regarding the project. The current goal is to understand what the public wants as well, Cramer said.

SR32 Project 2
Motorists travel on Ind. 32 in Westfield (Photo by Adam Seif)

An overview of the State Road 32 project

Roundabouts at intersections:

  • Carey Road/Grassy Branch Road
  • Gunther Boulevard
  • Moontown Road/Gray Road
  • Pebble Brook Boulevard/Hazel Dell Elementary School
  • Hazel Dell Road/Little Chicago Road
  • Mill Creek Road
  • Hague Road/Pleasant Street extension (to be constructed by city of Noblesville)

Pedestrian paths:

  • 8-foot asphalt paths along both sides of the roadway
  • Grass buffer between path and road where where space permits
  • Connection to paths in Westfield, Noblesville and Midland Trace

Crash rates:

  • Average of about 110 crashes per year
  • Approximately 70% of crashes are rear-end incidents
  • Approximately 14% of crashes involved incapacitating injuries

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