Median in the works for 3rd Street at Overhill, traffic commission gets briefed

Bloomington will be using its $463,000 share of the state’s spring Community Crossings matching grant awards for a repaving project on 3rd Street, from Eagleson Avenue to Overhill Drive.

At its regular Wednesday meeting, the city’s traffic commission got a heads up about that 3rd Street repaving project—in connection with a plan to install a median on 3rd Street at Overhill Drive.

The repaving project and the median project are “an ideal opportunity for coordination,” senior project engineer Neil Kopper told the traffic commission. No matter what, the sidewalk curb ramps have to be brought into ADA compliance at the 3rd Street and Overhill Drive intersection, Kopper said.

The idea behind installing a median is to block left turns from 3rd Street into Overhill Drive, thereby preventing a type of crash pattern that Kopper said was notable at the intersection.

The pattern involves drivers headed west in the left lane of 3rd Street, who are queued up at the traffic signal at the intersection of 3rd and Hillsdale. Those westbound drivers in the left lane will sometimes, out of politeness, leave a gap for drivers headed east, who are stopped, waiting to turn north into Overhill across the eastbound lanes, Kopper said.

What can happen in that scenario, is that a car in the right eastbound westbound lane of 3rd Street is approaching—but the polite left-lane driver is obscuring the other two drivers from each other’s view. The right-lane eastbound westbound driver and the north-turning driver can’t see each other through the polite driver.

Kopper told the traffic commission that there had been eight such crashes in five years.

The median would also have the effect of preventing left turns from Overhill Drive onto 3rd Street. Kopper talked about the impact of the median on traffic volumes for Hillsdale, which drivers would use instead of Overhill. Kopper indicated that the relatively low volume of traffic on Overhill meant that the increase in Hillsdale’s traffic would be small.

Kopper said that it’s not clear if the median and repaving project will start this summer (2023) or if it will have to wait until early next year. The Community Crossings grant was just recently awarded, he said, so the city is hoping to complete the design in time to bid it out for construction this summer, but it’s not clear if the city can hit that timeline, Kopper said.

The installation of the median does not require a change to city code, which means that no approval from the city council is required, Kopper said.

The city’s $463,000 award was part of a $133 million total that was awarded statewide in this year’s first round of the Community Crossings grant funding. The awards were announced on April 12.

The state makes two rounds of grant awards each year, one in the spring and the other late in the year. Started in 2016, Community Crossings money goes to local government units to be used for road resurfacing and preservation, bridge rehabilitation or replacement, road reconstruction, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance in connection with road projects.

In the spring 2023 round of funding, Monroe County government received a $1 million Community Crossings grant.

3 thoughts on “Median in the works for 3rd Street at Overhill, traffic commission gets briefed

  1. Since you mention the $1M Community Crossings award, I’ll list the roads that will be paved with that money:

    Smithville Rd (from SR37 to Fairfax Rd)
    Gardner Rd (Garrison Chapel Rd to Greene County Line)
    Tunnel Rd (SR45 to the End of County Maintenance)
    Gordon Pk (from Bridge #75 east approach to Moores Creek Rd)
    Gordon Pk (West of Nimit Dr to Bridge #75 west approach)
    Wampler Rd (Liberty Hollow Rd to Morgan County Line)
    Burma Rd (Buskirk Rd to Wampler Rd)
    Delap Rd (Union Valley Rd to Mt. Tabor Rd)
    Kerr Creek Rd (Getty Creek Rd to SR46)

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