Tale of two 146th Streets
While I was driving to Sunday church services in the dark last week, I was reminded once again how difficult it is to determine where the lanes are on the 146th Street bridge over U.S. 31. The evidence of the confusion is clear with all the tire marks on the concrete curbing in front of the south bound exit to Meridian Street that now has a big orange barrel sitting on it.
As a frequent user of 146th Street in both directions, I would have to say we have two different 146th Streets – one from Hazel Dell west and another from Hazel Dell east to Interstate 69. I will withhold my comments today about the safety of the road because that is an issue for another day.
Previously, the county commissioners stated the main point of the improvements to 146th Street was to move traffic through the county. I would have to say that 146th Street east of Hazel Dell does an excellent job at that. There are virtually no major backups. Residents can exit their subdivisions and workers can access and exit their job sites. Congestion around Hamilton Town Center is minimal despite the fact that it is much larger than Clay Terrace.
This 146th Street is well lit, and yes, you can follow the multiple lanes as they wind through Noblesville and Fishers. In this area 146th Street provides a positive assist to economic development for future residential and commercial growth in the area. I would have to say that 146th east of Hazel Dell is a pleasure to drive.
It is quite the opposite on the 146th Street west of Hazel Dell. Several years ago Hamilton County redid the bridge over U.S. 31. The redo of the bridge and the timing on the traffic lights have made the traffic situation confusing and very slow moving.
Over the last year or so, the state repaved the bridge and made new southbound exits. Now two additional ramps are being built on the north side that will connect somehow to the bridge. Traffic on 146th Street in this area is a confusing mess!
The complexity of the newest bridge interchange gives no indication that it will be an improvement. During rush hours and on Saturdays, westbound traffic on 146th Street can be backed up to Gray Road and eastbound to Oakridge Road. The ability to turn right out on to 146th Street from residential and commercial cut outs is difficult because of the traffic volume. Moreover, drivers turning right off 146th Street into their neighborhoods where there are no exit lanes fear that they could be rear-ended at any moment.
Driving on 146th Street west of Hazell Dell is not fun. The whole situation on 146th Street around the bridge over U.S. 31 makes me think that even architects and engineers graduating at the bottom of their class get jobs.
Construction by the state continues on the 146th Street bridge over U.S. 31, but that does not relieve Hamilton County from its responsibility to step up and resolve the 146th Street problems in Carmel.
Despite feeling frustrated and helpless, I still have hope that one day we can have a 146th Street in Carmel that works like the one that goes through Fishers and Noblesville. After all, Carmel residents pay more than our fair share of taxes in Hamilton County.
County Commissioner Christine Altman, we are counting on you.