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Traffic headaches persist near campus


Major Bloomington routes remain under construction through Welcome Week

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By Kourtney Liepelt



Relying on Bloomington’s public transportation system to get to and from campus each day this semester?

It might be a rough couple months, Bloomington Transit General Manager Lew May said.

“The Bypass project is by far the most problematic construction project, primarily because it has affected the busiest intersections in town and two of the most key transit corridors,” May said. “A project of this scale and this magnitude is bound to have serious impact on traffic and congestion.”

And if the summer months weren’t challenging enough for the bus routes, the influx of students in the coming days will make problems worse, May said.  

“I’m sure it will have an impact on delayed buses and taking a little bit longer to get to campus each day when school starts next week,” he said.   

Extra buses will be added to the routes in an effort to combat the delays, May said, but getting through the intersections in a time-efficient manner remains a concern.

“We’re looking forward to the end of the construction in October,” he said. “Once it’s finished, we’ll hopefully speed traffic through the Bypass and through 10th Street and make it a lot easier for people to get to and from campus each day, including those riding Bloomington Transit.”

Glenda Seal, Indiana Department of Transportation customer service director, said in an email that the project has been ongoing since summer 2010. The contractor has until April 2013 to complete the project, but the goal is to have some aspects completed sooner.  

“They hope to have the new lanes opened to traffic by the end of the year,” she said.
INDOT has been working with IU throughout the course of the construction project, both before it began and as it continues, Seal said.

For example, construction work will be limited on important dates for IU in an effort to help traffic flow, including move-in day.

She also said some work was completed during the summer months specifically to minimize the impact on the University.    

“Unfortunately, we are widening a roadway that exceeded traffic capacity and had backups before any construction began,” Seal said. “Based on this and the need to restrict traffic lanes to rebuild, the roadway makes it very difficult to not impact traffic during construction.”

Once the project is complete, Seal said traffic flow in the area will improve immensely due to the roadway’s increased capacity.

The aspects of the project geared toward pedestrians, including the audible push buttons at several intersections and the addition of new multipurpose paths and sidewalks, will allow better accessibility along the Bypass, she said.

Seal advises to exercise caution and patience when going through construction areas.

“There is more ongoing road construction than at any time in recent memory, including I-69 construction in Monroe County,” Seal said. “We all want to make sure everyone gets home safely at the end of the day.”

Using Bloomington Transit?
Bloomington Transit General Manager Lew May offers some advice for those attempting to get to campus.
    •    Plan ahead. Catch an earlier bus than normal in order to get to campus on time each day and to compensate for the delays.
    •    Use public transportation to help reduce traffic congestion.
    •    Have patience during the construction period. Buses can only move as quickly as traffic allows.

What's being done?
Glenda Seal, Indiana Department of Transportation customer service director, talked to the Indiana Daily Student about the Bypass construction project affecting the flow of traffic into campus, and when we can expect some relief.
      •    Widening of about a -mile section of the SR 45/46 from Kinser Pike to the Third Street/Pete Ellis Dr Bypass
    •    Pedestrian tunnel at Seventh Street
    •    Audible pedestrian push buttons where the Bypass intersects Walnut Street, Dunn Street, Fee Lane, 17th Street,
    •    New traffic signals
    •    Multipurpose paths along the
    •    10th Street and Third Street

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Road construction causes a traffic jam at Third St. and SR 45/46 Bypass. When the project is finished, the Bypass will be up to seven lanes wide in places. Naama Levy Buy Photos
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