The Indiana Department of Transportation is finalizing plans for improving safety on the busy 5-mile stretch of Pendleton Pike that goes through the City of Lawrence.
INDOT officials held a public hearing Aug. 29 in Lawrence to provide an update on the project.
Cory Lamb of CHA Consulting led the meeting.
Lamb said the project begins at I-465 and stretches northeast, ending at the intersection with Oaklandon Road. The 5-mile stretch has two-way traffic with no barriers, and crashes are common in this area.
“INDOT is considering improvements to this area because of the high frequency of injury-crashes in this area,” he said.
Roughly 45 percent of these crashes are angled crashes, typically caused by left turns, Lamb said. Factors contributing to those crashes include road congestion, aggressive driving and drivers needing to cross three lanes of traffic to make a left turn.
Lamb said the solution is a raised median running down most of Pendleton Pike.
“INDOT has chosen to install medians because the design meets the purpose and need in improving safety, connectivity and reduces congestion,” said Lamb.
Lamb said drivers wanting to turn left would need to use the nearest intersection or make legal U-turns. There would be 12 traffic signals along the roadway.
“This would eliminate angled crashes between left-turning vehicles and oncoming traffic,” he said. “It would also improve traffic flow and lead to more consistent speeds along the corridor because drivers would not need to slow down for left-turning vehicles.”
City of Lawrence Director of Engineering Sri Venugopalan said some property owners weren’t pleased with the proposal.
“When you have a median in between, you have to go around, come and take a U-turn,” Venugopalan said. “So, it’s a little bit of an inconvenience for property owners.”
However, there also were people in support of the idea, said Venugopalan. Safety concerns won their approval.
“The aggressive driving on Pendleton Pike has been an issue,” he said. “You’ll see people flying 70 mph, and then using the center line. It’s a pretty dangerous scenario out there.”
Construction on the project is expected to begin in summer of 2024, and will last about two years, Lamb said.
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