By Howard Packowitz
BLOOMINGTON – It’s only 3,000 feet of new roadway. However, south Bloomington residents and city leaders hope the planned extension of Hamilton Road, from Commerce Parkway to Bunn Street, will divert traffic from busy Veterans Parkway and boost prospects for new businesses in the area.
The city hosted an informational meeting Thursday night at Prairie Vista Golf Course for the public to provide feedback, which is a requirement for the city to receive $8 million in federal funds.
The remaining $4.5 million will come from the city’s share of state motor fuel taxes, but the project won’t happen until there’s an agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway for installation of an at-grade crossing.
Area resident Martin Weigman, who lives in nearby Wittenberg Woods, said he’s been waiting for the road extension since 2005.
“We’ve been waiting for this road, so it’s easy access to get to the eastern part of the city, and hopefully maybe some more growth will come out here, like some shopping and maybe a grocery store, something besides nothing out here,” Weigman said.
Public Works Director Jim Karch said the project is scheduled for completion in mid-2022 as negotiations with the railroad have broken off in the past.
“Even though it’s now March of 2019, as many phases, as much work as this will take, we still anticipate for this to be completed within a three-year period,” said Karch.
“That’s the type of length of time it takes for railroad negotiations to get a project of this size, a $12.5 million job done,” Karch added.
According to Karch, motorists won’t need to use the Rhodes Lane-Morrissey Drive intersection, which is considered one of the city’s most dangerous intersections.
The project, when its finished, will include traffic signals at Bunn and Commerce, and a connection to Constitution Trail.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org