City to Celebrate Opening of New Bypass

Seymour - To celebrate the opening of its newest roadway, the City of Seymour is inviting the community to come out for a car-free street event.

From noon-3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, the public is invited to experience the first phase of the Burkart Boulevard south bypass by walking or riding a bicycle on the 2-mile stretch which includes the new bridge over the Louisville and Indiana railroad.

There will be candy/treats provided by Milestone Contractors, which is sponsoring the event, and city officials will be on site grilling and serving free hot dogs.

The walk/bike ride will begin at the O’Brien Street end of the bypass. Once pedestrians make it to the other end at South Fourth Street Road, they will turn around and head back for a total of about 4 miles.

Parking will be on property along County Road 340 North just off of O’Brien St. The parking area will be flagged and have signage.

If it rains, the event will be canceled.

The bypass will not be open to vehicles until Nov. 1. A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 9 a.m. that day and the road will open afterwards.

Mayor Matt Nicholson said he wanted to create a unique way for people to connect with the project by providing an opportunity for people to make a memory on the bypass.

He got the idea from ciclovia events around the world, where streets are closed down temporarily for pedestrian use only.

“Before it gets opened up, we would like to highlight the significant amount of materials used for this project and the work that went into it with a day to walk the area and see it up close,” Nicholson said.

Even after the roadway opens to vehicles, pedestrians will have access to the new 12-foot wide people trail along the corridor, Nicholson added.

“All of this will benefit our community for many years to come,” he said. “This provides a place for those seeking exercise to go and also provides safer travel for those commuters who are not in the car.”

City engineer Bernie Hauersperger said major road projects are an important sign of growth but often don’t get celebrated publicly.

Putting the project into perspective, he estimated 375,000 tons of new materials were used for the bypass including stone, asphalt, concrete and steel. In comparison, the Empire State Building took 365,000 tons and the Washington Monument took 100,000 tons, he said.

“If you loaded the bypass phase 1 up in a big truck and you lost 45 pounds of it per foot on the roadway, you would be able to make it coast to coast on U.S. 50 and still have some left over,” he said.

The opening of Phase 1 of the bypass is a major accomplishment for the city. Funding for the $17.23 million project was secured by former Mayor Craig Luedeman and construction officially got underway in April 2020 under Nicholson’s leadership.

“This is the start to the overall 4.5 mile Burkart bypass,Nicholson said. “This will allow semi traffic to get off of Highway 50 when coming from exit 50B on Interstate 65 to the Freeman Field Industrial Park.”

Perhaps the most important aspect of the project is it provides a way for motorists and emergency responders to get around trains going through the city. It also opens up the southern area for future development and growth.

Phase 2 of the project will connect the bypass from the roundabout on South O’Brien Street west to Airport Road. Work currently is being done to relocate utilities along the route and construction is expected to begin soon.

The third phase, which consisted of reconstruction of Airport Road where the bypass connects to West U.S. 50, was completed in the fall of 2020.

Total, all three phases of the bypass are costing the city around $30 million with 20% or around $6 million coming from the Seymour Redevelopment Commission. The bulk of the expense is being paid for through federal transportation grants through the Indiana Department of Transportation.



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