Indy agrees to deal with Carmel to approve 96th Street roundabouts

The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday night voted to approve an agreement with the city of Carmel in their dispute over building roundabouts on 96th Street.

The council voted 14-10 to approve what’s known as an "interlocal cooperating agreement" with Carmel. Carmel is expected to vote on the agreement next week.

The deal allows Carmel to continue its plan to replace traffic-signaled intersections with roundabouts along 96th Street at Hazel Dell Parkway, Gray Road and Delegates Row.

Carmel has agreed to repair any local Indianapolis streets damaged during the construction detours.

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works has estimated that the value of the repairs Carmel is providing could be about $1.4 million.

The local legislative bodies have to approve the deal before Carmel can close on land acquisitions or begin roadway construction in Indianapolis. Upon approval, Indianapolis would dismiss its lawsuit.

Under the agreement, Carmel will also repave a detour route, pay to install a metering signal on a part of Gray Road during peak rush hours if traffic reaches a certain amount, and install and maintain sidewalks on the south side of 96th Street from Priority Way West Drive to River Ridge Drive.

Councilwoman Christine Scales urged council members to vote against the proposal, stating reasons “from economics to traffic challenges.” She said she has talked with business owners along 96th Street that would be harmed by the deal.

She said voting for the deal because of the infrastructure improvements Carmel is making is "a short-term approach."

But Councilwoman Colleen Fanning said she thought the deal was in the best interest of the taxpayers because Carmel would likely proceed with the project slightly north of the city’s boundaries without Indianapolis’ cooperation.

“I would rather give our taxpayers the highest possible benefit,” Fanning said. “We bear a very heavy infrastructure burden from the north side commute. This is an opportunity to get a little bit back for our taxpayers."

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