SR 7 ROADWAY
DES. NOS. 2000230 and 2000276
North Vernon to Columbus (Jennings and Bartholomew County), Indiana
INDOT Seymour District
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) intend to proceed with the SR 7 Roadway Improvement project (Des. Nos. 2000230 and 2000276) in Jennings and Bartholomew counties, Indiana. The project begins at the intersection of US 50 in North Vernon, Jennings County, Indiana, and extends north and west along SR 7 for approximately 14.5 miles before terminating approximately 0.1 mile northwest of the intersection with US 31 in Columbus, Bartholomew County, Indiana. Within this 14.5-mile stretch, there are nine work exemption areas where non-work will occur. These areas include stretches of SR 7 where shoulders have been previously widened, bridges improved, or final engineering has determined improvements are not warranted. These areas are located as noted in the table below.
The need for the proposed project is based on the crash history, limited line of sight at certain intersections, and high levels of platooning (chains of vehicles following each other in close proximity) that occur on this stretch of SR 7. The need for the proposed project is also based on the deteriorating conditions, lack of connectivity, and non-compliance of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards of the sidewalks in Scipio. A recent INDOT Office of Traffic Safety 3-year study of crash history (2016-2018) recorded 339 total crashes through segments of the project location, including 66 crashes with either injuries or fatalities. The most frequent crash type that resulted in fatalities was lane-departure crashes. Additionally, based on the 2022 Final Engineer’s Report, there are five intersections that do not possess the necessary line of sight (SR 7 and US 31, CR 525, CR 700 W, CR 500 N, and Geneva Road) and two intersections that, according to the same INDOT Office of Traffic Safety 3-year study of crash history (2016-2018), display an elevated number of rear-end crashes (SR 7 and CR 600 N, and SR 7 and US 50). There are also elevated levels of platooning due to limited passing zones and the heavy opposing traffic volumes along this stretch of SR 7. These factors can encourage risky passing behaviors. The increased potential for risky passing behaviors paired with the existing minimal shoulder widths and close proximity of the open roadside ditches to the travel lanes provides drivers little room for maneuvering before running off the roadway or into oncoming traffic, as evidenced by the high number of lane departure crashes along this stretch of SR 7.
The purpose of the proposed project is to reduce the potential for crashes, improve line of sight at intersections of SR 7 and US 31, CR 525, CR 700 W, CR 500 N, and Geneva Road, decrease levels of platooning along SR 7 between North Vernon and Columbus, Indiana, and to improve mobility for pedestrians along SR 7 in Scipio.
The proposed project would involve widening SR 7 throughout the project area to include 6-foot-wide shoulders. Additionally, in four locations, the corridor would be widened from two travel lanes (one in each direction) to three lanes (one travel lane in each direction and an auxiliary lane). The auxiliary lane would consist of one additional travel lane in either the northbound or southbound direction, as noted in the table below. The auxiliary lane would not be continuous throughout the corridor and portions of the corridor would retain their existing typical roadway sections as noted above in Table 1.
Additionally, there will be work on one bridge located within the project area: SR 7 over Fishers Fork (INDOT Bridge No. 007-03-06555). The SR 7 over Fishers Fork Bridge will require widening as a result of the addition of a southbound auxiliary lane on SR 7 at the intersection of US 31. No work will occur on the remaining six bridges within the project area.
Intersection improvements, including realignment of intersecting roadways to address line of sight as well as the addition of turn lanes, would also be completed. Based on the final engineering assessment, it is currently anticipated the following intersection improvements would be made:
SR 7 and US 31 (Bartholomew) – Addition of a left turn lane on southbound US 31
SR 7 and CR 525 East (Bartholomew) – Realignment of CR 525 East to address line of sight and addition of a dedicated left turn lane on northbound SR 7
SR 7 and CR 700 West (Jennings) – Narrow existing public approach to remove grass island
SR 7 and CR 600 North (Jennings) – Addition of dedicated northbound and southbound left turn lanes on SR 7
SR 7 and CR 500 North (Jennings) – Relocation of an existing building in the northwest quadrant of the intersection to improve line of sight
SR 7 and Geneva Road (Jennings) – Realignment of Geneva Road to improve line of sight, addition of dedicated left turn on southbound SR 7
SR 7 and US 50 (Jennings) – Installation of safety and warning measures
Within the unincorporated community of Scipio, reconstruction of existing sidewalks and replacement of curb ramps would also be completed. In addition, drainage improvements including extension or replacement of culverts and reconstruction of open roadside ditches would be completed throughout the entire project. County roads and private drives would also be reconstructed to tie into SR 7.
It is anticipated that work along SR 7 would require the acquisition of approximately 38 acres of additional permanent and 9 acres of temporary right-of-way. A full maintenance of traffic (MOT) plan has not yet been developed; however, the preferred method of traffic maintenance would include maintaining one lane of traffic along SR 7 with the use of a temporary signal during construction. Local detours may be necessary for closures of county roads, but have not yet been determined.
Notice of Public Information Meeting (January 2023):
A public information meeting regarding the SR 7 Roadway Improvement project is being held on January 10, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. at Scipio Elementary School, 6320 State Highway 7, Scipio, IN 47273. The format of the meeting will feature a formal short presentation to begin at 6:00 p.m. with an informal open house session immediately following. The open house session will provide the public an opportunity to view project exhibits and displays, as well as interact with the project team.
The purpose of the public information meeting is to obtain the public's views regarding the proposed project and its alternatives under consideration by INDOT. The public will be afforded the opportunity to provide comments on the information presented at the meeting through the submission of comments to the project team. Please note that the content and discussion at this meeting will only be regarding INDOT's SR 7 Roadway Improvement Project (Des. Nos. 2000230 and 2000276).
Additionally, the same meeting presentation and exhibits will be posted here two weeks prior to the meeting under "Project Document Links." Comments can be submitted via the comment box below or by using the printable "Comment Form" linked below.
Submit all comments by January 24, 2023.
American Structurepoint, Inc.