Greenwood residents prepare for new roundabout project on Smith Valley Road

GREENWOOD, Ind. -- It's a busy, bottlenecked area in the City of Greenwood and now officials are working to improve traffic flow. This week, residents took part in open house discussions to learn a little more about plans for a major roundabout project at the intersection of Smith Valley Road and Madison Avenue.

This interchange handles a heavy amount of traffic and sits right alongside US 31, Craig Park, and Our Lady of Greenwood Catholic Church and School. Beginning this June, the intersection will close for 90 days to allow crews to change this somewhat dangerous and busy intersection into a new roundabout.

So why this area and why now? City officials site heavy congestion in this area on a daily basis during the rush hour commutes, as well as short lane change opportunities and pedestrian safety. The intersection is located by the busy US 31, and Smith Valley Road itself is one of the major east/west connectors across much of Johnson County. 

City officials and some residents say the hope is that the new roundabout will ease traffic congestion in this busy area. The city also plans to increase east/west green light time to help move traffic through the area more efficiently. 

Roundabouts are shown to be statistically safer than your average left turns at an intersection. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, roundabout reduce the risk of deaths and injuries from crashes by 83 percent. Roundabout cause drivers to travel at lower speeds and allow for less dangerous angles of impact. 

City officials are planning on a larger roundabout to let fire trucks and semis to be able to make turns with ease when necessary. 

The roundabout project is expected to cost Greenwood $2.5 million with INDOT contributing $500,000.

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