Motorists taking a detour around construction along U.S. 31 will have to tap on their brakes along one county road.
Jackson County Commissioners recently approved a temporary speed limit of 40 mph along County Road 1100N in Redding Township. That will be in effect from the beginning of April to Dec. 1.
Commissioners discussed the issue with Jackson County Highway Superintendent Warren Martin, whose department will put up and take down the speed limit signs, and Jackson County Sheriff Mike Carothers, whose officers patrol county roads.
Both Martin and Carothers thought 40 mph was appropriate along County Road 1100N during construction. The normal speed limit is 55 mph, while the speed limit on other county roads involved in the unofficial detour around U.S. 31 is 45 mph.
“I think I said once before, I think every road in the county ought to have a speed limit on it not to exceed 45 mph, but I realize there are some long stretches,” Martin said.
When Commissioner Tom Joray asked Carothers if he thought 40 mph was adequate, Carothers said it was since there are a few hills and curves on County Road 1100N.
“There also are a lot of new houses that have been going up in that area,” Carothers said. “We try to keep a lower speed limit in the subdivisions and those type of places.”
The U.S. 31 project includes demolishing and replacing the two-lane Sand Creek Bridge at the Jackson-Bartholomew county line.
The unofficial detour around that work includes county roads 700N and 1100N in Jackson County. Motorists will use County Road 1300E to cross into Bartholomew County and get back back to U.S. 31.
The official detour consists of Interstate 65 between U.S. 50 in Seymour and State Road 46 in Columbus.
Carothers suggested making an ordinance to leave the speed limit at 40 mph on County Road 1100N. Joray said he was OK with doing that, but commissioners agreed to discuss it when construction is close to completion.
The bridge replacement is part of an $8.4 million project that will close sections of U.S. 31 in northern Jackson County and southern Bartholomew County.
Flaggers have been directing traffic around exploratory drilling operations at the Sand Creek Bridge.
The first closure along U.S. 31 recently took place on the northeast side of Seymour below the CSX railroad bridge. For at least five days, crews from Milestone Contractors will be removing and replacing pavement between East County Avenue and County Road 700N.
After that, workers will begin milling and resurfacing the highway further north to the Sand Creek Bridge.
There still has been no decision when a new roundabout along U.S. 31 at Southern Crossing in Bartholomew County will be installed.
Because of the U.S. 31 project, contracts to do extensive reconstruction on Interstate between U.S. 50 at Seymour and the Walesboro-Ogilville exit in Bartholomew County will not be until next February, said Harry Maginity, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation.