JEFFERSONVILLE — The two-week initial public comment period has kicked off for residents to give input on what’s expected to be a five-year plan to widen Charlestown-Jeffersonville Pike.
The up to $17 million project, paid through Tax Increment Financing, will involve around four miles of road, utility and infrastructure work between Holmans Lane to Salem Noble Road. This year will be dedicated to the design phase, with engineers at Jacobi Toomz and Lantz gathering public feedback to be presented later in the year for review.
The next year will include right-of way acquisition, with utility work expected to start in 2023, JTL staff said during a public Zoom meeting Monday evening. Construction is expected to start in late 2024 and take about two years to complete.
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, who was in the meeting, said talks have been underway for around 10 years for widening the road. With increased development in both residential areas and at River Ridge Commerce Center, traffic has already more than doubled in the past decade, he said, and now is the time to get moving.
“I wanted to put every effort into widening Charlestown Pike,” Moore said. “We’ve got heavy trucks, we’ve got a lot of construction, River Ridge is busting at the seams.”
The roadway between Holmans Lane to Utica Sellersburg Road now has two 10-foot-wide lanes — one in each direction — on most of the roadway. The pavement has stress cracking and there are no paved shoulders. Two railroad crossings need modification, and there are several storm structures that will need to be extended or replaced.
The stretch of road between Utica-Sellersburg Road has two nine-foot lanes throughout, no paved shoulders and includes entrances to three subdivisions.
Initial design ideas presented Monday include bringing the entire roadway to three lanes — two 12-foot lanes, one in each direction, and a continuous left-turn lane. Sidewalks would be added at least in some areas, with ADA-compliant curbs at intersections and combined concrete curb and gutters.
Moore said he wanted to get everyone’s input and take time considering what is best, adding that while “everyone wants to see Charlestown Pike fixed,” different residents may have different concerns depending on where they live in the area.
About a dozen people gave public comment during the meeting, including Mike Adams, whose family owns Armstrong Farms. He and some others showed concern for what could be 60 feet of space needed to have those three lanes and sidewalks.
“Sixty feet is massive,” he said. “we would stand to move a significant portion of our front yard,” he said, adding that while sidewalks make sense along the residential neighborhoods, they don’t in the agricultural areas.
“Putting a sidewalk alongside a cornfield doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Adams said, adding that if it’s along areas with horses or cows, “suddenly your farm becomes a petting zoo.”
He also had concerns that the wider road could lead to increased driver speeds.
“People [already] go 50 and 60; I’m afraid they would go 80 if it’s made that wide,” he said.
Other questions included what will be done to help with noise reduction, whether this will cause major traffic problems during construction and how they’ll be affected when utilities are replaced.
Moore said his main issue is making sure that residents are taken care of; anything that has to be removed like a fence, for instance, would be replaced or reimbursed.
“We don’t intend on taking anybody’s house,” he said. “We don’t intend on having the road go up to anybody’s front door.”
Additional public comment on the project can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org through April 26.