Speedway roundabout ready for trafficSRC Member
Speedway’s newest strip of circular road is now ready for traffic.
On Sunday, state and local officials were joined by dozens of community members at 16th and Main streets for a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the town’s Main Street roundabout. The traffic circle is poised to open at 5 a.m. Monday.
Georgetown Road, which runs north-south, is not part of the roundabout and will end in a cul-de-sac just north of the intersection.
With the Indianapolis Motor Speedway providing the backdrop, stock cars, Indy cars and 18-wheelers became the first vehicles to travel through the roundabout. With each successful pass, a crowd of onlookers snapped photos and cheered.
Although the project took only three months to finish, Speedway Town Council President Gary Raikes said it has been a long time in the making.
For Raikes, the roundabout bridges the gap between where the community has been and where it is headed.
“The roundabout has officially been in the works for about nine years. If you look on the walls of Charlie Brown’s just down the street, in the archives of our library or a few other places around town, you’ll see copies of drawings and sketches of a roundabout from at least 15 years ago,” he said.
“And I wonder if … the four founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the greatest roundabout in all the world, had a similar vision about this roundabout.”
The $15 million project provides a direct connection from Crawfordsville Road to Main Street, where most of the town’s small businesses are located. Town officials say more traffic along Main Street means more consumers in the heart of the town.
The roundabout, which was funded mostly — 80 percent — by the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, is a component of Speedway’s $500 million redevelopment plan launched in 2007. The remaining 20 percent of the roundabout funding will come from the Speedway Redevelopment Commission.
The master plan calls for redeveloping 400 acres around Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Scott Harris, executive director of the Speedway Redevelopment Commission, said the roundabout also will play a major role in reducing crashes in the area.
“Our assessments show that this intersection was an ‘F’ intersection and responsible for about 62 (or) 63 percent of the accidents reported in Speedway,” Harris said. “The roundabout you see here today is designed as one of the largest in the state. The size is able to accommodate all traffic that comes through the area.”
Speedway resident James Tyner thinks the new structure is beautiful, but he still has doubts on the decision to make the change.
“I’ve never been a fan of these things. I think some of the old problems could have been fixed with better signage or lights,” he said. “But we’ll see. It looks great. I just hope people drive smart on it.”
Call Star reporter Justin L. Mack at (317) 444-6138. Follow him on Twitter: @justinlmack.