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true true true true

East Third St. Near College Mall Changing From 4 Lanes To 2

SR 46 lane change illustration

INDOT illustration from February's city council meeting. (INDOT)

INDOT is changing a major Bloomington corridor from 4 lanes to two. It’s happening on East Third near College Mall.

Beginning at Clarizz Boulevard, East Third will be reduced to two traffic lanes … making room for bike lanes and a center turning lane.

Indiana transportation officials introduced the project at a February Bloomington city council meeting.

Mayor John Hamilton says although the city isn’t heading the project, there are potential benefits for commuters.

“They’re not changing the physical structure of the road, the curbs, the width, but they’ll be adding that turn lane. And they’ll also get to add bike lanes on both sides," he says. "So, there are some advantages to this. We’ll see how it goes, but we’re hopeful that it will be an improvement.”

INDOT Southeast Media Relations Director Natalie Garrett says the changes are about safety. She says the goal is to reduce the number of rear-end and right angle crashes that occur in that area.

“We want to keep people safe and that center turn lane would allow drivers to have a designated area to wait safely before they make that left turn across traffic to reach their destination,” Garrett says.

Google Map of SR 46 lane changes
Red line indicates lane changes, green line indicates resurfacing project (Google Maps)

She says 10,000 fewer vehicles per day use East Third than in the 1990s, and that INDOT reported 15 accidents near that stretch of road between 2015 and 2017. The current traffic volume is about 18,500 vehicles a day.

Work is scheduled to begin in early April and be complete in August. Road resurfacing is also included in the project.

Garrett says most of the work will be done during the evening to limit daytime traffic.

E & B Paving is working on the $1.9 million project.

This story has been updated. Ethan Burks contributed to this story.

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