U.S. 31 Roundabout Plan Gains Traction

INDOT Considers U.S. 31 Roundabout Proposal

Rush hour leaves a lot of people feeling like they are driving in circles but that might be part of the solution to troubles on the road from Hamilton County to Indianapolis.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is studying the idea of putting roundabouts on U.S. 31 from 103rd to 136th streets.

The change would be years off, but it's an idea that Carmel officials are driving home, 6News' Ray Cortopassi reported.

Just last week, the state and Carmel announced a partnership to rebuild Keystone Avenue using roundabouts at major interchanges.

Stoplights might be on the chopping block at several intersections on U.S. 31. Using Major Moves money, roundabouts could become part of INDOT's plan to upgrade the highway to an interstate starting in 2011.

"It's something we're taking a look at right now, not something we've used extensively in Indiana, but they're used in other states," said Will Wingfield of INDOT.

Carmel officials said roundabouts successfully move traffic in other states. In Hamilton County, officials said they would improve the flow in every direction, not just north and south from Indianapolis.

Roundabouts are nothing new in Hamilton County. Drivers have been getting adjusted to them, especially on east-west corridors, for some time. The proposed roundabouts would be on a much larger scale than those already in existence.

North-south traffic would go under the elevated roundabouts. You'd never use the circle unless you want to turn left or right or cross the road.

"I can't tell you how many lives we expect to save every year and how much tragic injury we'll avoid every year," said Rick Sharp, a Carmel city councilman.

Officials said the roundabouts could also hold down construction costs because they require less land than traditional interchanges.

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