U.S. 40 stretch closing for sewer work

GREENFIELD — Drivers should brace for another downtown detour. On Monday, U.S. 40 will be closed between East and Spring streets for construction work related to the Potts Ditch relocation project.

The street, which serves as a main thoroughfare through Greenfield, likely will remained closed through the Riley Festival, which starts Oct. 1.

It’s the second major road closure in recent weeks as construction crews move along the project to reroute Potts Ditch, an underground drainage route that for years has been prone to flooding. State Road 9 was opened last week after being closed for more than a month.

U.S. 40 needs to be closed so crews can complete sewer work and close the old tunnel, which crosses the road, city engineer Karla Vincent said.

Drivers heading west on U.S. 40 will detour north on Apple Street, west on New Road and south on Franklin Street back to U.S. 40. Those driving east will detour north on Franklin Street, east on New Road and south on Apple Street back to U.S. 40.

Drivers also may use Park Avenue or McKenzie Road to connect with State Road 9 from Apple Street.

Signs advising of the closure and detours will be posted through the duration of the closure.

Vincent said she doesn’t foresee any major issues with the road closure; U.S. 40 was closed once before at the start of the project.

“It should go pretty smoothly, and it should go pretty quick as far as the work goes,” she said. “Hopefully, traffic adjusts well.”

A new tunnel is being constructed for Potts Ditch — a waterway that runs underground when it reaches the downtown district — along Grant, East, North and Spring streets in downtown Greenfield. The project began in early fall 2014 and is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

It’s the largest — and at about $10 million the most costly — construction project the city has undertaken in recent years. Once complete, the project is expected to curtail flooding downtown, which has been prone to high water for years.

The project is progressing well, Vincent said. Crews are making good progress and are remain mostly on schedule.

Traffic through downtown is flowing better as well, she said. For more than a month, State Road 9 was closed at Grant Street for the project.

The street was closed July 27 and opened Sept. 4; it also restricted parking for residents living in the area.

Greenfield Police Department Chief John Jester said that, although the closure was a major inconvenience, there were no serious problems with the detour. Many semitrailer truck drivers had to be rerouted through narrow city streets when they didn’t heed the signs, but beyond that, the closure was smooth.

“The real inconvenience was for the citizens in the area,” he said. “They all seemed to take it in stride.”

Other closures related to the project shouldn’t be as inconvenient, he said.

Mayor Chuck Fewell said the tunnel relocation is going as well as can be expected for a construction project of its size, and crews are getting closer to finishing the work.

The residents living in the area have adjusted well, he said, despite the inconvenience.

“The people have been pretty darn good to work with,” he said. “You can’t have a project that size and not have a few problems. “

Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.