SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Whether it’s for a big race, like the Indy 500, or a normal day, drivers likely know the intersection of 16th Street, Main Street and Crawfordsville Road in Speedway can be a mess.
Starting Monday, crews will put in a roundabout to make the intersection more driver and pedestrian friendly.
Right now, the intersection around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is confusing at best and dangerous at worst for both drivers and walkers.
“Just look at the traffic lights,” said Scott Harris with the Town of Speedway. “You’ve got angles coming in, you’ve got perpendicular intersections.”
Harris said planning for the roundabout has taken years. Underground work is finished; on Monday, work starts above ground to add curbs, sidewalks and new pavement.
“It creates a gateway to our newly renovated Main Street,” Harris said. “Prior to this, it was even difficult to see Main Street from Crawfordsville Road. The second thing is, it creates a grand gateway to the world’s greatest racing venue.”
Harris admits, nothing will ease the backup as cars leave IMS on Indy 500 race day. On normal days, though, he said the intersection will be much safer and more convenient.
The idea of roundabouts in Central Indiana started in Carmel.
But one major difference between there and Speedway is that Carmel officials told semi drivers to stay off the city’s roundabouts.
“Some of the cross-country trucks may not be familiar with them and realize how much they need to slow down to be able to navigate those roundabouts,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard has said.
Speedway’s roundabout is designed to accommodate big traffic, like gas tankers and the haulers that transport race cars.
This is a two-lane roundabout, but Harris said it’s engineered so that if a third lane is eventually needed, it can easily be added to the inside.
Current work will be phased, so intersections affected won’t be completely closed while it’s being done.
“It’s perfectly been timed for holiday shopping,” Harris said. “I think it’ll be open, frankly, by Thanksgiving.”