Drivers face double detour off Main Street in Elkhart after miscommunication

Main Street motorists diverted onto Indiana Avenue faced another surprise detour off that roadway on Tuesday and Wednesday. It’ll happen again later in June, too.

Posted on June 5, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.

ELKHART — Motorists maneuvering around Main Street, which is closed north of Indiana Avenue, faced an unexpected detour to their detour earlier this week.

Main Street was barricaded to traffic on Monday, June 2, from Indiana Avenue north to Willard Street, which is south of the downtown Norfolk Southern Railroad crossing. The closure, to last until around Dec. 1, is needed to allow placement of new sewer and utility lines under the roadway, an element of the Prairie Street overpass construction project.

The detour for northbound Main Street traffic was identified as Indiana Avenue, west to Benham Avenue and Benham Avenue north to downtown Elkhart, where Main Street is open. However, Indiana Avenue was closed for at least part of Tuesday and Wednesday for work on the roadway between Prairie Street and Benham Avenue.

Thus, motorists detouring off Main Street were faced with having yet another detour off of Indiana Avenue.

  • Scroll down to see a map of the area.

Leslie Biek, right-of-way engineer for the city of Elkhart, said she overlooked an Elkhart Street Department email on the Indiana Avenue upgrade plans, leading to the situation. Biek, who’s helping oversee the Main Street sewer/Prairie Street overpass project, works in the Elkhart Public Works and Utilities Department while the Elkhart Street Department is handling the Indiana Avenue road upgrade.

Marty Morgan, the street commissioner, said Indiana Avenue was reopened as of Thursday, though there may still be minor work on the roadway. However, it will close again, probably for a day, later in June so the upgrade between Prairie Street and Benham Avenue can be completed.

City crews ground off the top layer of Indiana Avenue in the section in question, but they still need to resurface it, according to Morgan.

Ahead of the resurfacing, Biek said the city will take steps to get word out to the public so motorists can plan their travel accordingly. “They’ll have to do the same thing, detour the detour,” she said.

Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack or visit him on Facebook.


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