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Adam Wason
Director of Public Works

City to Implement Traffic Mitigating Measures Along West Third Street

Bloomington, Ind. - As the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) prepares to complete construction of Bloomington’s I-69 interchanges this summer, the City of Bloomington is taking additional steps, in coordination with the state agency, to alleviate associated congestion. According to INDOT’s projected timeline, access to I-69 from West Third Street will be established in late August. Recent lane shifts necessitated by the INDOT construction schedule on the West Third Street overpass have reassigned the road’s traffic to two eastbound lanes and one westbound lane. The reconfiguration has resulted in significant delays that the City is addressing with the following supplementary measures:

  • Starting May 22, from 3:45 p.m. through the busiest part of each evening, police officers will be flagging westbound drivers through four key intersections along West Third Street in an effort to expedite flow after school, summer camp, and regular work hours.  Officers will be stationed at Franklin Drive, at two points along the bridge over the interstate, at Gates Drive, and at Liberty Drive.

  • Some traffic signals along the route may be manually calibrated to maximize flow until the West Third Street I-69 interchange is completed.  

This traffic mitigation plan will be instituted on a trial basis from May 22-25. The impact of these measures on congestion along West Third Street will be evaluated daily. The City will regularly survey traffic conditions over the course of the summer using, among other tools, photographic evidence gathered by drone aircraft.  

“We’re responding as nimbly as possible to this summer’s unique traffic challenges,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “We’re gathering drone footage, sending out text alerts, putting additional officers on the street, and forging some good partnerships to accelerate the projects we can and reduce the inconvenience of these infrastructure improvements.”

In addition to the mitigation efforts the City is implementing along West Third Street, the completion of the interchange at Tapp Road this month and the West Second Street interchange in mid- to late June will restore critical east-west arteries that should also ease traffic on the southwest side.  

The pilot program to reduce congestion on West Third Street is the latest in a series of modifications the City has implemented to lessen the impact that multiple infrastructure improvement projects are having on traffic in and around Bloomington. These projects are being led by various entities, including the City of Bloomington, City of Bloomington Utilities, Monroe County government, the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), and the State of Indiana. The concurrence of several projects resulted in part from delays in long-planned improvements, such as Section 5 of the I-69 corridor, which was scheduled for completion in 2016. Other projects have been fast-tracked for completion this year due to the urgency of their condition, adding to an already busy construction season.

While not the project lead for a number of these improvements, the City of Bloomington has been coordinating efforts to minimize their impact with officials from the county, INDOT, the MPO, and affected entities including MCCSC and Bloomington Transit, as follows:

Actions to reduce congestion:

  • City and County have invested up to $30,000 each to accelerate the Country Club Bridge project so overlap with other projects is minimized.

  • City of Bloomington Utilities invested $18,000 to accelerate the Grimes Lane sewer interceptor project, to allow starting after MCCSC schools close for the summer and attempt to finish before they reopen on August 8.

  • City’s Planning and Transportation Department has voluntarily delayed the intersection improvement project and sidepath construction at Henderson and Winslow.

  • City is offering a text alert feature providing in-the-moment notifications and weekly forecasts.

  • City will be using drones to gather data on traffic patterns and implement necessary changes.

  • County is providing a weekly traffic and construction project update in public meetings and on social and print media, and will launch a platform for residents to receive updates on the status of county projects.

  • Modification of traffic signals at selected intersections is being explored to facilitate flow.

  • Traffic updates will be posted at the city-dedicated site (Inroads), on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

  • MCCSC is consolidating the summer school schedule to reduce traffic.

  • City is partnering with IU to launch a bikeshare program.

  • City and County will evaluate retaining temporary signaling at South Rogers Street and West Gordon Pike during duration of Tapp/Rockport intersection improvement.  

  • City and County will hold regular joint meetings throughout the construction season to coordinate efforts with MCCSC Transportation, emergency services and Bloomington Transit.

How to commute smarter this summer:

  • Text “roads” to 812-558-5987 to receive traffic alerts from the city.

  • Download WAZE, or other similar navigation apps, to help determine the least congested route and help others by posting updates of conditions you encounter.

  • Consult before you head out.

  • Follow @BtownRoads on Twitter.

  • Watch traffic footage collected by City drone at the City’s YouTube channel.

  • Consider walking or biking to work or for errands, using your bike or the bikeshare program.

  • Start or join a carpool.

  • Explore the possibilities of telecommuting and flex scheduling at your place of work.