Interstate 65 in Lebanon could see some changes to where residents, truckers and passersby exit into the city.
Any changes will be based upon a feasibility study being done to determine what changes are needed to improve safety and traffic patterns on city and county roads near I-65, according to Lebanon City Engineer Kevin Krulik.
Reconsidering the city’s northern I-65 interchange has been on the short list of big projects for the last two iterations of Lebanon’s Thoroughfare Plan, Krulik said.
One likely change is the elimination of the Lafayette Avenue exit, at least in its current configuration. Krulik said the left exit is dangerous, especially for those who enter I-65 from U.S. 52 and must cross traffic to get all the way to the left on the three-lane highway.
He said the study will look at where the exit should go instead, whether further down Lafayette Avenue or on a completely different street.
The city and county thoroughfare plans have both proposed adding an exit and on-ramp at CR 300 N, which could replace or be in addition to the Lafayette Avenue exit.
One reason CR 300 N is being considered, according to Krulik, is to create a northern bypass and divert truck traffic away from the city. The bypass would be in keeping with the goals in the city and county thoroughfare plans, both of which propose a northern and eastern bypass to ease congestion in downtown Lebanon.
Because the interchange involves city streets, county roads and state highways, Krulik said, INDOT and Boone County will also be involved with the feasibility study.
In total, the study will consider traffic and safety on I-65, U.S. 52 and nearby city and county roads to determine what configuration of on- an off-ramps is optimal.
Krulik said the study is expected to start in September, assuming favorable offers come back from the request for qualifications to be published next week. If the study begins in September, he expects it to wrap up before the end of the year.
Once the study wraps up, action can be taken to procure funding to make the necessary changes. Krulik said preliminary conversations with INDOT have been favorable, with INDOT saying they would be willing to consider the project for state funds.
Though the study will likely be complete by the end of the year, Krulik said no construction is likely for several years.
“This would be a long-term goal, these are just the beginning stages,” he said. “Given that this will be a state and federal project, we will be moving at their speed. I wouldn’t expect to see anything for three to five years.”