The need for a proposed $34 million interchange connecting 106th Street with Interstate 69 in Hamilton County is threefold, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).
A new interchange would reduce congestion at the existing I-69 interchanges with 96th Street and 116th Street, improve traffic safety within the project study area, and provide direct access between I-69 and 106th Street for existing land uses and growth patterns.
“The project is tentatively planned for an early 2016 contract letting,” Nathan Riggs, public information director for INDOT East Central District, told TI News Daily. “Construction could begin as early as spring of 2016 and could last into the 2017 construction season."
The public learned about the 106th Street project schedule during a public hearing held in September and was allowed to submit public comments until Sept. 25.
INDOT is currently reviewing and considering those comments, according to Riggs, and has plans to finalize the environmental document and design this fall. The real estate acquisition phase is scheduled for later this year and into early 2016.
“All comments will be reviewed and considered by INDOT as the project plans and contract documents are finalized over the next few months,” Riggs said.
Currently, the preferred project is a new interchange configuration with a two-lane, oval-shaped roundabout centered over I-69 with ramps to and from both directions of the interstate. The existing 106th Street bridge over I-69 would be removed and replaced with this roundabout interchange.
The roundabout interchange is preferred – in comparison to other interchange alternatives – because it would create the least average delay in seconds per vehicle during peak hour operations and little-to-no delay during off-peak operations, according to INDOT.
In addition, the cost and environmental impact of the roundabout interchange would be roughly the same as compared to other interchange alternatives.
The proposed interchange would provide for all four turning movements to and from I-69. Roadway work along the interstate would be limited to construction of ramps for the new interchange; 106th Street would be widened to two lanes in each direction, and provided with curbs and gutters along its route.
Of the $34 million construction cost, project-cost participation would be 66 percent from INDOT/FHWA; 28 percent from the city of Fishers and 6 percent from Hamilton County.
“INDOT has a strong record of completing large infrastructure projects on schedule and on budget,” Riggs said.
In considering the project’s purpose and need, INDOT says this new interchange would reduce crashes in the area, thereby improving traffic safety.
According to INDOT data, 58 percent of the crashes that occurred in the 96th Street and 116th Street interchange areas during 2010-12 were rear-end crashes and 17 percent were side-swipe crashes.
The high frequency of rear-end crashes along I-69 is likely due to high traffic volumes and congestion, with vehicles forced to make sudden stops, INDOT said, while side-swipe crashes are typically caused by improper lane changes that usually occur when vehicles are entering or exiting the interstate.