A project, talked about for decades and designed to widen a traffic-clogged Bloomington roadway may be mere months from starting. And business owners on the city’s east side say it’s none too soon. At a meeting hosted by Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan Tuesday, anxious business owners said they want to see progress on the Indiana 45/46 bypass— a road fraught with congestion.
Eastside Bloomington Incorporation President Barbara Leininger says, “Our main concerns are the traffic flow coming over to the east side of Bloomington, and community members having access to our businesses. The traffic flow can get very congested so we worry that when the construction begins the traffic flow will be really, really slowed down, and people will become annoyed and not want to come over here to shop.”
Because the exit off of Highway 37 is heavily used, business owners are concerned added traffic congestion could keep people from coming to the east side of town. “This is going to be a ribbon of concrete that is going to be about seven lanes wide at intersections four to five lanes wide along the corridor. I think it’s a much bigger project than people even proponents anticipate it’s going to be,” says Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan.
Kruzan says that means if it’s going to be expanded, it must be done in a way to anticipate future use. “This is a 50 year project and once it’s done it’s done, and my concern is we have a 1970s/80s design for a road that going to be built in the 21st century.”
The mayor says there has been a written project agreement since 2000 between the city and the state, which also incorporates concerns of safety features for pedestrians and cyclists.