By Scott Smith
It’s been the subject of speculation since 2009, but it now appears the roundabout at Markland and Park avenues is about to become a reality.
Kokomo city officials last week filed a notice of public comment for the $1.9 million road circle, a step required by the federal government.
About $1.1 million of the funds for the project, which will include a complete reconstruction of a large swath of Park Avenue, comes from an earmark in an omnibus budget reconciliation bill, which passed just prior to the economic meltdown of 2008-09.
The city is planning to construct a new alignment for Park Avenue, which will move the center of the new, dual-lane roundabout about 280 feet to the east of the current intersection, Kokomo city engineer Carey Stranahan said.
Vehicles traveling along Markland would approach the roundabout in two lanes, while traffic along Park would approach in a single lane. The project will include sidewalks along both Park and Markland, and bike lanes along Park.
The city plans to acquire about 10 acres of land to complete the project, including the two tavern buildings on the northeast corner of the current intersection.
The newly-aligned Park Avenue will run from the intersection of Park and Philips Street southwest to the new intersection, and then south across the Continental Steel cleanup site. More than half a mile of new roadway will be constructed, in addition to the roundabout itself.
City officials have long slated the intersection for improvement, due to roughly equal amounts of vehicles approaching the intersection each day from the north, south, east and west.
Stranahan said work will likely begin in the fall, with a 2014 completion date.
Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.