Noblesville considering four options for east-west connector

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Noblesville is considering four alternatives to create an east-west connector that would help travelers bypass downtown traffic, but city officials still appear to favor expanding Pleasant Street.

City officials on Tuesday presented the results of a traffic analysis and the potential options, which also include expanding and extending Conner Street, South/Irving Street or Carbon Street. The options were presented to residents at a meeting at City Hall.

The four options feature costs that vary from $27.5 million to $69.5 million.

The Pleasant Street option is estimated to cost $40.9 million—a significant decrease from the $70 million initial estimate city officials provided earlier this year. The cost would include land acquisition, construction, utilities, design and engineering.

The route that is chosen will receive additional lanes, signalized intersections and roundabouts from State Road 37 to west of the White River. The goal is to alleviate the heavy traffic that travels through the heart of the city on State Road 32 (Conner Street) and clogs up traffic signals downtown.

Noblesville Deputy Mayor Steve Cooke and city engineer John Beery highlighted the benefits of using Pleasant Street during their presentation.

Beery said using Pleasant would have the highest impact of reducing traffic on Conner Street and would also offer the lowest cost on a per-vehicle basis.

“The further away you move the corridor, the less people will be using it,” Beery said.

Cooke said Pleasant Street could also be a viable option for extending the Midland Trace Trail through the city’s downtown.

“We realize this project will create a huge challenge for residents and businesses near Pleasant Street,” Cooke said. “(But) we think there’d be a lot of benefits to many people.”

City officials have yet to provide a timeline for when construction could start or how long it could take. A breakdown of funding sources wasn't discussed Tuesday night, but city officials have said they were counting on some state funding and for Hamilton County to chip in.

Noblesville has already started acquiring property for the project, though, and has spent nearly $1 million so far, including recently paying $551,560 for a 20-acre parcel near the project's western end at State Road 32 and Hague Road.

The idea of creating another east-west corridor started more than 20 years ago, when it was included in the city’s 1995 thoroughfare plan. Since then, multiple studies have been conducted to determine the best route, and the city recently started revisiting those options.

The Pleasant Street option has been favored for years, although it would have the biggest impact on residential areas.

Using Conner Street would cost the least, at $27.5 million, but it would not alleviate traffic on Eighth and Pleasant streets.

The South/Irving Street option would cost $48.1 million and have less of an impact on residential areas than Pleasant Street, but there are bigger environmental concerns along the proposed path.

Carbon Street would be the most expensive option, at $69.5 million. It also would have the least impact on existing traffic and has potential environmental issues.

The city does not have a timeframe for when an option will be selected.

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