In about 49 days, E&B Paving Inc. will have completed perhaps the largest roundabout in Southern Indiana and would have finished it sooner had there not been a design change and inclement weather.
The project, which has been the subject of a lot of talks around town, is expected to be finished next week and hopefully open by Friday, Sept. 10.
According to Cassandra Bajek with the Indiana Department of Transportation, the $2 million project is due to open soon.
“Due to the rain on Monday & Tuesday and the [Labor Day Holiday] this weekend, it has pushed us back to trying to open by 9/10,” she said by email.
As of Friday afternoon, workers were finishing paving efforts and finishing some dirt work in preparation for laying sod in the middle island and along each entrance to the roundabout.
According to one of the workers, the sod will need to be installed, striping on the roadways and on-pavement markings as well as some additional concrete work.
Signs have already been installed and red concrete was poured around the center area and along each entrance medium.
Bright lights have been installed to light the area at night.
The driving pattern will be much the same as on the downtown courthouse square — Drivers enter and proceed to the right while other traffic yields.
WSLM will provide more coverage next week when the new area is completed.
Although most local traffic has chosen not to take the official detours that INDOT suggested and provided signage for.
Bajek said that INDOT coordinated with both the city and county with signed Letters of Understanding regarding an unofficial detour they believed local motorists would most likely utilize during the closure period.
That local detour took motorists from State Road 56 via Heritage Chapel Road and Paynter Lane to Old State Road 60 and then back to State Road 60 south of the construction area.
According to INDOT, the official state detour for SR 60 was supposed to be I-65 & SR 56 and for SR 135 uses US 50 & SR 56.
It wasn’t uncommon to see all manner of traffic on these side roads — semi-trucks, dump trucks, and other large vehicles driving down very tight county roads not built for that weight or width.
Many locals have noted how the extra traffic has helped to deteriorate the roads.
“Once the project is completed, INDOT will work with both the city and county to assess damages that may have occurred on those routes during the closure,” said Bajek.
“There is not much that INDOT can do to prevent people from using unofficial detours but we put signage up and get the word out about closures and detours as much as possible to encourage people to use the approved detours,” she said.
Bajek said the Letters of Understanding allow INDOT to compensate the city or county if there is significant usage of unofficial detours in the area that causes damage to the roadway.