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Business owners grappling with ongoing construction in Hancock County

 INDOT is currently working on a “road diet” project along Broadway and U.S. 36
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Posted at 4:01 AM, May 11, 2023

FORTVILLE — A traffic headache will soon be over in Hancock County, but not without impacting businesses that sit in historic downtown Fortville.

INDOT is currently working on a “road diet” project along Broadway and U.S. 36.

The department is slimming down the road and removing lanes to allow access to pedestrians and cyclists. The project will also bring new infrastructure to Hancock County, including new curbs, gutters, storm sewers and sidewalks.

Construction for the project started in late April and is expected to last until July.

Fortville construction

“It’s certainly been a challenge as a business owner,” Larry Harnish said.

Harnish is the shop owner at Maduro on Main in Fortville. His shop isn’t just a place where people buy cigars, he also sells lifestyle items as well.

He says the construction has made it very challenging to get around town but is thankful for his loyal customers.

“There are a lot of backups — a lot of traffic and accidents,” Harnish said.

Vernon Township fire department says it has responded to at least five crashes in the area of construction since April 24.

“The amount of road they have closed is very expansive,” Miranda Weaver said.

Weaver is the owner of Variety Row Boutique. The boutique, that is ran out of her home, specializes in lifestyle apparel for women.

“I feel like we have seen a decrease in sales. I’ve been looking at our numbers and we are doing about 30% less at the farmers market, and overall traffic has been low,” Weaver said.

Weaver says she usually sets up at the farmers marketthat runs weekly on Thursdays until late September. The market sits near the intersection of Noel Street and South Main Street in front of the 305 Wine Garage.

“It’s really hard to get anywhere around downtown,” Weaver said.

Set to open on May 13 is Field Women's Provisions. The new women's lifestyle boutique in downtown Fortville will specialize in women's fashion.

The Field Women's Provisions

Co-Owners Jamie Thompson and Stacy Berger are hopeful that the new construction will better the community in the long run.

“We know that it’s going to better the community so that’s a positive,” Berger said.