Batesville officials are waiting on a decision from Ripley County Commissioners regarding improvements to Merkel Road.
Batesville Mayor Rick Fledderman, along with members of the Batesville Economic Board and representatives from several businesses on Lammers Pike, asked commissioners on Aug. 19 to allow improvements on the road as well as help with funding.
The city plans on widening the road to allow commercial vehicles to travel on the road more efficiently. Fledderman said, “It is important for a lot of reasons. It is important for the safety of the residents of the road and the area. It would also give access to Lammers Pike from the east.”
“It would make ingress and egress much safer because it would reduce it substantially,” he added. He noted it would cut down on the number of vehicles that use Dirks Road and Village Drive, as well as the road through Hillenbrand Industries headquarters.
According to Fledderman, improvements to the road are also critical to the new industrial park area that the city recently acquired.
Fledderman said, “While it is in the city of the Batesville, Ripley County will benefit as a whole.”
The majority of Merkel Road is within the city limits however there are some areas that are not. Fledderman said until both sides of the road are in the city, the road is under the control of the county.
A recent traffic study was done on the road. On weekdays, approximately 600 vehicles traveled on the road daily. Usage decreased during the weekend to about 300-400 vehicles per day. Mayor Fledderman says the road is being used by employees and commercial vehicles going to and from current businesses in the area.
City officials presented economic information to the county commissioners. According to Fledderman, Batesville and the immediate surrounding area makes up 31 percent of the accessed value for Ripley County.
City employment data was also presented. An unscientific survey indicated that there was at least one employee from each zip code in Ripley County that works at one of Batesville’s larger employers.
Batesville officials said they can make financial contributions to the road, however would like some county assistance with the project. Ripley County Commissioners are deciding whether to help the city with the road.