Monroe County OKs start of right-of-way acquisition for 2023 Fullerton Pike roundabout construction

Design concept from 2019 for Phase 3 of the Fullerton Pike road project.

In fall 2023, Monroe County expects to start construction on two new roundabouts. One is at the intersection of Fullerton Pike and Rockport Road. The other is at the intersection of Clearview Drive and Gordon Pike, across from Batchelor Middle School.

The project also includes road improvements like raised medians, bicycle lanes, and a multi-use path.

None of that is breaking news. This is Phase 3 of a larger project, and the initial public meetings on the topic were held in 2019.

But action taken at its regular Wednesday meeting by Monroe County’s board of commissioners is an indication that the project is moving ahead on its expected timeline.  The schedule calls for acquisition of the necessary right-of-way, starting this summer, on July 1.

On Wednesday, county commissioners approved a contract with the Indiana Department of Transportation to start acquiring the right-of-way (ROW) from property owners along Fullerton Pike and Gordon Pike.

The dollar amount associated with the contract approved on Wednesday is $421,934, which is the maximum amount of federal aid funds allocated to the project by the Bloomington-Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization in its transportation improvement program (TIP). Up to 80 percent of the project costs can be covered with federal aid money.

Monroe County’s highway director Lisa Ridge told commissioners on Wednesday the final designs are being completed. After that, when the state’s fiscal year starts on July 1, Ridge wants to ready to start with the process that would acquire land (ROW) from 13 different property owners.

The time allotted for ROW acquisition is up to a year. Why so long? Ridge said, “We have to go through the appraisal process of the right-of-way that we’re purchasing.”

She continued, “Then we will start negotiations with each property owner. That can go back and forth.” If no agreement is reached, Ridge said, it could go through the eminent domain condemnation process, which would be handled by the courts. About the chances of that, Ridge said, “We typically don’t have to go to condemnation.”

The construction on the project is planned for completion in June 2025.

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