Pavement plans: Reconstruction of Ind. 32 through downtown Westfield set to begin


Construction has ramped up in downtown Westfield, as the Indiana Department of Transportation and the City of Westfield prepare for a major overhaul of Ind. 32.

The project is a reconstruction of Ind. 32 from the roundabout at Poplar Street to east of East Street, to widen roughly a half mile of roadway to alleviate heavy traffic through downtown. Moving the building at the corner of Ind. 32 and Union Street — part of the historic preservation aspect of the project — takes place in June. Water and sewer utility relocation is scheduled to begin June 3 which is anticipated to include lane closures, create backups and require detours as necessary.

INDOT Project Manager Jennifer Beck said INDOT recognized Ind. 32 for its congestion issues ever since U.S. 31 was rebuilt as a limited-access highway in 2015.

“The first signal is at Union Street in the heart of downtown, and that was where people were queuing back, all the way toward the interchange,” Beck said. “So, we had it on our radar that we saw a traffic issue here. But when we stack needs throughout the state altogether, it’s Westfield’s No. 1 priority but it was not high on our list and it was not a fundable project on our list.”

Beck said since the completion of U.S. 31, INDOT has done minor improvements to help with traffic needs such as improving signage, increasing sign visibility and adding road striping. But, she said, there was no funding at the state level for a total overhaul.

Enter the City of Westfield.

“It was our No. 1 problem for construction,” Westfield’s Director of Public Works Johnathon Nail said. “We also understood with the construction of Grand Junction Plaza and some of the development that we had coming in the downtown area — and just our general growth that we had seen and continue to see — we knew it would only get worse in the future.”

In late 2018, the city approached INDOT not only regarding the need for reconstruction through downtown, but to make sure Westfield had a place at the table when it came to the decision-making process.

The result was an interlocal agreement providing for a 50/50 cost share for the project, estimated at a total cost of $22 million. The city was given control over design of the project, while the state’s share covers land acquisition, utility relocation costs and construction.

With the city pitching in 50 percent of the total project costs, the project rocketed to the top of the priorities list for the state. The cost-sharing agreement was reached in 2019, and while there were some bumps in the road — the price increased over the initial estimate by $7 million and the city considered terminating the project in 2021 over questions on transparency by former elected officials in Westfield — plans are on track for utility relocation in 2024, construction in 2025 and completion by 2026.

route 32 westfield
A major overhaul of Ind. 32 though downtown Westfield is underway to alleviate long lines of traffic. Water and sewer relocations will begin this summer.

“With it being our downtown, we wanted to make sure that we have a walkable design,” Nail said. “We want to accomplish the goal of congestion mitigation, but we also want it to be something that is also beautiful and part of Westfield.”

The design includes expanding the two-lane road to four lanes with a median and streetscaping, which Nail said is designed to appear as a boulevard versus a state highway. A new roundabout will be built at Ind. 32 and East Street. The traffic signal at Ind. 32 and Union Street will remain.

INDOT has already completed the right-of-way and land acquisition process, acquiring portions of 37 parcels for the expansion.

Nail and Beck said that it is not the standard for the state to enter into 50/50 cost-sharing projects with municipalities, but similar projects have been granted on a case-by-case basis. Beck said in Hamilton County, the need for those partnerships has grown especially since INDOT funding is variable and comes from the state legislature.

“We have done a couple of other partnerships in Hamilton County with our neighbors in Noblesville and Fishers,” Beck said. “They are all a little different. I think it’s a good solution in Hamilton County because the growth is so drastic and quick, and INDOT is just not structured to be able to address one spot of the state with how we fund our projects.”

Nail noted that the $22 million price tag is all-inclusive, including land acquisition, utility relocation and final construction.

The road construction portion of the project is expected to go to bid by October.

Nail urged the public to be patient as all the portions of the project come together for the outcome.

“It’s really a lot of work to get utilities out of the way first,” Nail said. “The actual road construction happens relatively quickly, once utilities are out of the way. It will be a process, but it will be a great asset.”

green house
The building on the corner of Ind. 32 and Union Street will be relocated about three blocks north, just south of the Westfield Playhouse on Union Street. (Photos by Marney Simon)

New roadway, historic downtown

An important part of the Ind. 32 road widening project is updating the road while preserving historical aspects of downtown Westfield.

Included in the project is moving the building at 102 S. Union St.

“We are working through shoring that building up to be picked up off its foundation and relocated out of the way,” Westfield’s Director of Public Works Johnathon Nail said.

The building will initially be moved to the rear of the parcel while the basement is backfilled, then later moved to a vacant lot on north Union Street, just south of the Westfield Playhouse. A date for that relocation has not been determined, but the city will construct a foundation while the current site of the building is prepped.

A website — 32 Connects — was established in 2023 to provide residents, neighbors, businesses and other stakeholders with information on the project through each phase.

Learn more about the project and sign up for updates at