|Carmel to take over Keystone Avenue and get $90 million from state
Noblesville Daily Times
By William Fouts, Noblesville Daily Times
Under terms of an agreement between the city of Carmel and the state, Carmel will assume ownership of Keystone Avenue from 96th Street to U.S. 31. Gov. Mitch Daniels and Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard announced the plan Thursday.
The Indiana Department of Transportation will pay the city $90 million in installments to reconstruct the road. The city's construction plan calls for lowering Keystone Avenue at seven major intersections and building roundabouts. When completed, traffic will flow unhindered by traffic lights.
"When we pull the jurisdiction from the state over to a local entity, we drop a lot of the restrictions and federal rules on that roadway," said Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman. "It will allow Carmel, who will have jurisdiction over it, to employ a lot more creative design techniques in investment of the moneys the state is handing over. To me that's the true benefit."
Construction is scheduled to begin early next year. Brainard said the city will not take on additional debt for the reconstruction costs. Six of the seven intersections can be built with the $90 million from INDOT.
"We're going to actually have some left over from that it appears," Brainard said. "And then we'll also look to supplement that with a federal earmark for 96th and Keystone. That intersection can't be fixed or reconstructed as quickly anyway, because we have to wait and coordinate that with INDOT because I-465 is just south of it."
Brainard said the city is committed to completing the project before reconstruction begins on U.S. 31 in 2011. He said the bulk of the work should be done by 2008 or 2009. He added the city will work closely with area residents and businesses to help mitigate construction impact.
Carmel will also assume maintenance and upkeep costs for that section of Keystone Avenue once the project is completed.
Currently, the state spends about $100,000 annually to maintain that stretch of road. Of the approximately 400 miles of streets and roads currently under Carmel's jurisdiction, Keystone will account for between 2 and 4 percent of the city's street budget.
With Carmel getting this influx of $90 million to take over keystone it will hopefully speed things along. With Carmels proactive outlook, and the fast timeline that they have set out for it will have a nice alternative when contruction starts on US 31. Most people don't feel that Carme's idea for Keystone's interchanges is a good idea. But if you look at the track record for roundabouts and how much they save time and reduce pollution its going to be good for the city and for commuters that use the thoroughfare. Also, Keystone will be lowered so it will have uninterupted travel through the entire lenght. Most people think that keystone will be part of the roundabout, but it will actually travel under. What are people's thought about this proposal? I personally think it will be good for the city and hamilton county as a whole.