Roundabouts in the works for State Road 37
City, county and state planners are exploring a massive upgrade to State Road 37 that calls for ripping out the stoplights and replacing them with roundabout interchanges.
The goal is to help ease traffic from Noblesville into Fishers, but the plan has a nearly $350 million price tag.
Hamilton County planners are looking at making the State Road 37 corridor look like Keystone Parkway in Carmel. The plan calls for rebuilding the entire length of SR 37 from 126th Street in Fishers to State Road 32/Conner Street in Noblesville.
The highway would be lowered at each major intersection and roundabouts would replace the traffic lights. A total of 10 roundabouts would be added as part of the project.
"I think it will be a long-term project, but it will be great. Trying to get in and out of this area is, just so many cars, it is hard to do," said driver Art Kessler.
The stretch is used by about 45,000 drivers each day. Drivers who commute here every day say the traffic is only getting worse.
"I think something needs to be done if there is a problem," said Marni Hendricks-Rockey. "But I think spending that amount of money...roundabouts are expensive. So maybe we can figure something else out."
Don Morgan likes roundabouts.
"I don't like the cost, though. But I really do like roundabouts. I find them much more convenient than stop lights or stop signs," he said.
Businesses fear that if the area traffic becomes more free-flowing, it might lead to fewer customers stopping to do business, despite the presence of interchanges that provide full access.
Some drivers think the road is fine the way it is.
"I don't know. It moves. It moves now. I don't want to think about the roundabouts. It was a mess to create it on Keystone, to get there," said Mike Lee.
Right now, this project is only in the planning stages, and could take 15 years to build if plans are approved.
Adding 10 roundabouts clearly be costly, but, the Federal Highway Administration argues there's a big safety benefit. Converting an intersection to a roundabout can reduce the number of crashes by nearly half.