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Festival detours will change

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No heavy loads: The Potts Ditch bridge on McKenzie Road between Franklin and Broadway streets has a weight limit of 12 tons, which puts it off limits to most trucks.
No heavy loads: The Potts Ditch bridge on McKenzie Road between Franklin and Broadway streets has a weight limit of 12 tons, which puts it off limits to most trucks.


You will find the 2012 Riley Festival preview section inserted in today's Daily Reporter. Find a map of the detour routes and a schedule of events. Also: Meet the new festival queen, and learn about a  “Base ball” game that will take players back 140 years.

GREENFIELD — Detours around the Riley Festival have changed this year, and city officials hope motorists take note.

A deteriorating culvert in central Greenfield has caused the detour map to change, routing motorists to New Road instead of McKenzie Road to avoid the downtown festival.

For years, traffic on Ind. 9 was routed east or west on McKenzie Road, where motorists found their way to Franklin or Apple streets to avoid downtown street closures for the festival.

But now, a 12-ton weight limit has been placed on a bridge and culvert on McKenzie Road between the Broadway and Franklin street roundabouts. Because city officials don’t want semi-trailer trucks or other heavy loads on the bridge, the heavily traveled stretch of McKenzie Road will be closed completely between the two roundabouts for the duration of the festival.

Greenfield Police Maj. Derek Towle said the new detour does not mean residents won’t be able to get to the businesses on State Street north of the festival. The state road will be open save for the downtown blocks between North Street and South Street.

Still, Towle said people should use the detour routes, especially if they’re simply passing through the city.

“That’s the hard part; we’ve got to allow people to get to all of those businesses up and down Ind. 9,” said Towle, traffic safety officer for the city. “The ones we’re concerned about are the people trying to travel straight through Greenfield, or are trying to get on U.S. 40 east and west.”

The detour route will take effect midnight Wednesday night through about 8 a.m. Monday morning. Flashing signs will alert motorists of the change.

Greenfield Street Superin-tendent Jim Hahn said he hopes people notice the signs and obey the detours during the four days of the festival. A driver of a large truck that disregards signs could have a difficult time navigating smaller streets in the city.

To complicate matters, the roundabouts on New Road at Franklin Street and Apple Street remain under construction.

City engineer Mike Fruth said those intersections will remain under the same restrictions they have today. That is, New Road will remain closed from Apple Street to Blue Road. The intersection can still be used to travel from Ind. 9 to points south on Apple Street, and vice versa.

The Franklin Street/New Road roundabout will be open, but some barrels will be removed to make room for heavier traffic. Immediately after the festival, the intersection will be closed entirely to complete construction.

“We’re all working together, trying to make a horrible situation the best it can be,” Towle said. “By no means is it perfect, but we’re trying to do our best to make sure people are safe and they’re not going to be put in a bad situation.”

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