Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

November 16, 2013

Final section of Ronald Reagan receives funding

By Steven Penn steven.penn@flyergroup.com
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — BROWNSBURG — Hendricks County’s long-awaited final section of Ronald Reagan Parkway is now one step closer to construction with a federal funding award of $10.1 million approved by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) policy committee.

The Town of Brownsburg partnered with Hendricks County on the funding request to build the new roadway from County Road 300 North to the existing Ronald Reagan Parkway interchange at Interstate 74, making the connection just north of U.S. 136.

Construction costs total just more than $20.2 million, half of which will be funded with the Urban Surface Transportation Program funds. Brownsburg will contribute $7.4 million and Hendricks County will fund $2.7 million of the costs to complete construction of the last leg of the county’s major north-south connector.

Planning of Ronald Reagan Parkway started in the mid-1980s to connect I-70 and the Indianapolis International Airport on the south to I-74 and beyond on the north. Hendricks County and local governments designed the 12-mile section of roadway to provide connectivity between the towns of Plainfield, Avon, and Brownsburg as well as to create opportunities for new economic development.

Construction of the first mile, from U.S. 36 to C.R. 100 N., was completed in 1996. The critical one-mile section crossing the CSX railroad south of U.S. 36 in Avon opened last December.

The goal is to eventually connect I-65 at the southern end of Boone County to I-70 in Hendricks County.

Design is nearly complete and right of way has been acquired for the remaining 1.7-mile section in Brownsburg that will include a grade-separated bridge over the CSX rail line that parallels U.S. 136 and a bridge over U.S. 136. The road construction is among the federal high priority fund projects on the FY 2014 to 2017 Indianapolis Regional Transportation Improvement Program (IRTIP). The IRTIP provides a coordinated transportation system in the area by ensuring that the limited federal funds available are spent on projects that provide the greatest benefit. With final MPO approval expected next month, construction letting could be as early as mid-2015.

“This project has been a long time coming,” Brownsburg Town Manager Grant Kleinhenz said in a press release. “Not only will the completion of Ronald Reagan Parkway ease traffic congestion and accommodate future transportation demands, but it will also have a major impact on our community’s long-term economic development.”

The Town of Brownsburg annexed Ronald Reagan Parkway in 2011. With completion of the roadway, the town’s Comprehensive Plan anticipates significant commercial development over the next 10 to 15 years that would likely include a regional campus of offices, hotels, restaurants, and shopping facilities and will create more than a thousand permanent jobs while diversifying the town’s property tax base.

“This critical piece of the parkway will open up the entire east side of Hendricks County to great opportunities,” Hendricks County Commissioner Matt Whetstone said. “We’re so pleased that partnering with the Town of Brownsburg to share costs could help make it happen.”

Brownsburg Town Council President Gary Hood said being able to partner with the county has made the project possible.

“Partnering with Hendricks County on the federal funding request and sharing project costs has been the key to making the Ronald Reagan Parkway corridor a reality,” he said. “Without the intergovernmental cooperation, completion of the corridor would still be only a dream.”