After more than 20 years of discussion, the city of Noblesville is moving forward with plans to create a major east-west connector by transforming and extending Pleasant Street.
The 3-mile-plus project, which according to early estimates could cost $70 million, would create a roundabout intersection at Pleasant Street and State Road 37, extend and widen Pleasant Street west to Hague Road, and construct bridges over the White River and Cicero Creek.
The project also entails creating roundabouts at Pleasant Street's intersections with 19th Street, 16th Street, 13th Street, 10th Street, Eighth Street, and River Road. Most of the expanded Pleasant Street corridor would be three to four lanes wide, plus a trail lane that would connect to the Midland Trace Trail on the city’s west side.
Noblesville Deputy Mayor Steve Cooke said the project details are still preliminary. The city hopes to have a more complete plan by mid-December, when a public information meeting is expected to be scheduled.
“It hasn’t been planned out,” Cooke said. “There hasn’t been a budget.”
Cooke broadly estimated the cost could be as much as $70 million. No timeline for the project exists, and construction is likely years away.
The city has started acquiring property for the project, however. It also is having discussions with affected neighborhoods and securing partners, such as Hamilton County and the Indiana Department of Transportion, to help fund the project.
The county plans to be responsible for the bridge over the White River and has estimated spending $3 million of county funds to construct it.
Noblesville would use bonds to pay for its share of the costs, according to Cooke.
The city started purchasing property last year, and has spent nearly $1 million, including recently paying $551,560 for a 20-acre parcel near the project's western terminus at State Road 32 and Hague Road.
The proposal to create another east-west corridor was initially introduced in the city’s 1995 thoroughfare plan. Since then, multiple studies have been conducted to determine the best option for the corridor.
“It’s kind of funny when you have a project that’s 20 years in the making,” Cooke said. “We definitely want to get going on this.”
Pleasant Street has been the favored option for years, because it would relieve congestion on Conner Street, connect the city's west side to S.R. 37 and improve trail connectivity. Intesections along the street are considered congested, so widening it could relieve that problem.
One of the alternatives is expanding Carbon Street, but Cooke said officials believe the street is too far south to reduce traffic from Conner Street. It also likely would not connect to S.R. 37, which is being redesigned into a free-flowing state highway with raised roundabout interchanges similar to Keystone Parkway in Carmel.
“We don’t feel like the southern location is going to be viable,” Cooke said.
But the city is putting together a cost analysis to compare Carbon and Pleasant streets, which should be presented at the public meeting in December.
“I’m really excited about the opportunities for the Pleasant Street expansion, especially when it’s connected to the Midland Trace Trail,” Cooke said. “That's one of the things that I hope people would take away from the project.”
So far, some residents in the Southwest Quad neighborhood haven’t been supportive of the project, Cooke said. About 70 percent of the land that would be impacted by the project is residential.
But Cooke hopes that will change as the city has more public meetings and discussion about the plan.
“Change is difficult. … I think that’s been part of the angst,” Cooke said. “At least we’re growing and not receding.”