ELKHART — Beardsley Avenue motorists accustomed to turning onto Riverside Drive will soon have to drive just a little bit farther.
The Elkhart Board of Public Works voted Tuesday, Aug. 5, to prohibit left turns by westbound Beardsley motorists onto Riverside, a move aimed at reducing the accident count at the crossing. The change, with new signage, will probably go into effect within a month, said Mike Machlan, the city engineer and board president.
In the past two years, there have been nine reported crashes at the crossing, eight involving westbound vehicles turning left from Beardsley into the path of eastbound autos. Riverside meets Beardsley at an angle at the crossing, just west of the Beardsley-Main Street intersection.
“The police department and concerned residents have requested something be done,” Leslie Biek, the city’s right-of-way engineer said in a memo. She said westbound motorists can turn left a block further to the west on Edwardsburg Avenue, thus, the change shouldn’t cause much inconvenience.
Susie Lanning, who lives near the crossing, asked officials at Tuesday’s meeting to completely close Riverside where it meets Beardsley to prevent problems at the spot. Machlan expressed support for such change and the board directed Biek to look into the possibility, as well as the possibility of reconfiguring the intersection into a T-crossing.
In other business, the board accepted a bid for a water main extension and bike path along C.R. 15, just outside the eastern city limits. Selge Construction made the winning $663,161.95 bid.
Plans call for extension of a water main from the Pebblestone subdivision near C.R. 15 and C.R. 10 north along C.R. 15 to the Timberstone subdivision. As part of the work, a bike path will be built alongside C.R. 15 from Pebblestone north toward C.R. 6. A path existing around Eastwood Elementary School in the zone will be refurbished as part of the effort, according to Machlan.
The city and Elkhart County are cooperating on the project. Elkhart will pitch in $367,907.73 to cover the water main costs while the county will provide $295,254.22 for the bike path, according to a city memo.
The board also accepted the sole bid for a new fire truck, for $423,339 from Sutphen Corp.