Anderson eyes improvements to I-69 corridors

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Improvements to two major corridors from Interstate 69 to downtown Anderson, reconfigurations of complicated interchanges, and changing one-way streets to two-way streets are among Mayor Kevin Smith's goals.

And he is excited about what those improvements could mean for the city and downtown businesses.

Smith said that the two main corridors to downtown — routes from I-69 exits 22 and 26 — need to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate for visitors and potential investors.

The mayor doesn't have a set timeline, design or price tag for most of the improvements, so those are projects his engineering department will be undertaking.

The first corridor, which is the closest for people coming from Indianapolis and Hamilton County, goes from Exit 22, follows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and connects to Jackson Street through 17th Street. Jackson Street moves drivers into downtown.

Smith said he would like to continue making aesthetic upgrades that were begun during his first term as mayor, between January 2004 and December 2007. Among those projects was the addition of a series of red light poles along a section of MLK Boulevard to trademark the area as the Speedway district.

"We actively demolished (half a dozen) abandoned or vacant properties along the corridor and replanted them with vegetation and trees," Smith said.

"Our product to sell is Anderson, Ind. Our goal was to make that travel through there much more pleasing to the eye. We are also operating on the basis that it is more likely to attract new investment to the city."

The second corridor starts off Exit 26, goes north on Scatterfield Road, west on Mounds Road, merges with Ohio Avenue and then continues along Cincinnati Avenue. The corridor curves to the west until it reaches downtown.

Along that route there are two intersections that are problematic, Smith said, and he would like to change that.

Each intersection has three roads coming together in one spot, making things confusing for drivers, especially for visitors who are trying to get in and out of town, Smith said. And to make things worse, the two intersections are side-by-side.

Those interchanges include 18th Street, Huey Street and Columbus Avenue, and to the east of that, East Lynn Street, 18th Street and Ohio Avenue.

A new design hasn't been determined, but Smith would like to make some changes so the Exit 26 corridor is more navigable.

"Those are two intersections that will be a challenge to redesign because they are so close to the railroad," Smith said.

And Smith also wants to make sure that once drivers have made it downtown through the improved corridors that they also can move around there easily.

He believes that all the one-way streets can confuse drivers and make them go out of their way when coming in and out of downtown. He would like most of the streets to become two-way roads so people can more directly reach the business they are looking for and then can leave on the same roads they drove in on.

"A logical resolution that has been discussed before, and bears even greater discussion now is having the core of the city in a two-way street configuration, while allowing two outside corridors, one for north traffic and one for south, to bypass the downtown," Smith said.

Smith said that the one-way northbound street would be Central Avenue, and the southbound street would be Brown-Delaware. The rest would become two-way streets.

"This would facilitate people wanting to navigate the core downtown rather than navigate multiple blocks," he said. "There is not only the business-friendly issue, but this is also a green initiative. We want to make destination points much easier to access and you don't have to run your car motor as much."

The city and a group of residents and business owners are creating a committee that will further discuss what can be done to help improve downtown and draw more visitors, business and investors to downtown. The group will hold its first meeting later this month.

Kyle Morey, president of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, said the corridor and street improvements could be beneficial to downtown businesses.

"It is our opinion that it is a great improvement for commerce any time you can have roads that are prepared to connect traffic to commerce," he said. "It will be better for businesses any time you can improve transportation opportunities and the flow of traffic. Plus it gets things moving forward again and gets people working on the road projects."

Once the city gets a better idea of the intersection designs and aesthetic improvements it wants to make, it can seek federal funding.

As far as local funding, that will be another hurdle for the city, Smith said. He had been hoping to use funds from the wheel tax, but was disappointed when the Madison County Council voted last week to rescind the tax.

"If we want to continue to grow aesthetically and culturally and dynamically, we will have to be even more reliant on outside funding strings that might be available," he said. "Some of these upgrades are essential to the viability and competitiveness of the city."


  • Ugly I 69
    The improvement to the I69 corridor has come and gone. Drive 69 through Madison County/Anderson every week. With miles of billboards of every size,height,setback not sure anything they do will make the experience of visiting Anderson ever a pleasant experience.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I could be wrong, but I don't think Butler views the new dorm as mere replacements for Schwitzer and or Ross.

  2. An increase of only 5% is awesome compared to what most consumers face or used to face before passage of the ACA. Imagine if the Medicaid program had been expanded to the 400k Hoosiers that would be eligible, the savings would have been substantial to the state and other policy holders. The GOP predictions of plan death spirals, astronomical premium hikes and shortages of care are all bunk. Hopefully voters are paying attention. The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a Obamacare), where fully implemented, has dramatically reduced the number of uninsured and helped contained the growth in healthcare costs.

  3. So much for competition lowering costs.

  4. As I understand the proposal, Keystone would take on the debt, not the city/CRC. So the $104K would not be used to service the $3.8M bond. Keystone would do that with its share.

  5. Adam C, if anything in Carmel is "packed in like sardines", you'll have to show me where you shop for groceries. Based on 2014 population estimates, Carmel has around 85,000 people spread across about 48 square miles, which puts its density at well below 1800 persons/sq mi, which is well below Indianapolis (already a very low-density city). Noblesville is minimally less dense than Carmel as well. The initiatives over the last few years have taken what was previously a provincial crossroads with no real identity beyond lack of poverty (and the predictably above-average school system) and turned it into a place with a discernible look, feel, and a center. Seriously, if you think Carmel is crowded, couldn't you opt to live in the remaining 95% of Indiana that still has an ultra-low density development pattern? Moreover, if you see Carmel as "over-saturated" have you ever been to Chicago--or just about any city outside of Indiana?