TERRE HAUTE —
Two roadwork projects will affect motorists in Vigo County starting Monday with detours and road closings expected to continue through late September.
n On Third Street (U.S. 41) at Eighth Avenue in Terre Haute, an intersection improvement project will limit access to Union Hospital on Eighth Avenue to ambulance traffic only. All traffic wanting to access the hospital campus from Third Street will be directed to turn east at Locust Street, then take Lafayette Avenue north and then west at Eighth Avenue.
n Indiana 42 in eastern Vigo County, from U.S. 40/Indiana 46 to the intersection of Swalls Road, will be closed for a pavement replacement and intersection improvement project. However, access to the Terre Haute International Airport will be maintained.
The Third Street project
On Third Street, flashing message boards have already been erected to alert motorists to the Eighth Avenue closing between Third and Fourth streets starting Monday.
The intersection improvement project has multiple components:
• Adding a right turn lane (in addition to the three northbound traffic lanes) for motorists wanting to turn right from Third Street onto Eighth Avenue.
• Creating a left turn only lane and a straight/right turn lane on westbound Eighth Avenue so that traffic wanting to turn left onto southbound Third Street will not impede traffic wanting to proceed straight or turn right onto Third Street.
• Extending the length of the southbound left turn lane on Third Street at Eighth Avenue to provide more vehicle “storage” for traffic wanting to turn east toward the hospital campus.
• Adding new curb ramps on all four corners of the intersection and upgrading traffic signals.
Motorists can expect some traffic restrictions as Third Street is periodically reduced to two lanes during construction.
Brad Utz, director of inspections with the city engineering department, explained that the intersection improvement project has already had some preliminary work done in preparation for the 75-day project. A fence, trees and signage have been moved adjacent to Memorial Park to make room for the new right turn lane. That new lane will begin just north of the intersection of Seventh Avenue and is intended to remove east-turning traffic from the northbound traffic flow.
Utz said that on Eighth Avenue, the city has purchased some land from businesses on the north side of the intersection in order to add the additional traffic lane between Third and Fourth Streets. That should eliminate eastbound traffic back ups that occur when one vehicle wanting to turn left must wait on other traffic to clear the intersection.
Utz warned that while Eighth Street is closed to traffic, one lane will be maintained to be used only by ambulance and emergency traffic to access the hospital campus. All other motorists should use the Locust-to-Lafayette detour, he said.
“It’s gonna be tempting for traffic to drive down that one lane, but we will probably look into having it patrolled,” Utz said. “So if someone drives down it, and the vehicle doesn’t look like an ambulance, they are probably going to get busted.”
The cost of the project is $526,619. The original completion date was Sept. 6, but that was delayed because of utility relocation. So the completion date will be extended to Sept. 23, he said.
A roundabout on Indiana 42
On Indiana 42, the 75-day closure is focused at Swalls Road, which will be relocated slightly to the east to tie into a new roundabout for the highway, which has a 45-degree bend at that point.
The project also adds new traffic lanes and improves the intersection of Indiana 42 at Hunt Road, Chamberlain Road and the entrance to the airport through a two-mile project bid at $6.9 million.
Access to the airport, the Indiana Air National Guard base, homes and businesses on that portion of the highway will be maintained during construction, said Debbie Calder, communication director for the Crawfordsville district of the Indiana Department of Transportation.
The anticipated open date is Sept. 21. The project completion date is June 30, 2014 as additional road work continues in that area.
The official detour for that section of Indiana 42 will send traffic to U.S. 40/Indiana 46 to Interstate 70 to exit at Indiana 59 in Clay County.
Indiana 42 is also closed in Owen County in the Poland area for replacement of two bridges and one large structure. That closure began in early June and is expected to continue into late September. That $1.89 million project has an Oct. 12 completion date. That segment of the highway is a popular route to Lieber State Recreation Area, Cagles Mill Lake and Cataract Lake.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.