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INDOT's plans through 2015 including improving U.S. 33 southeast of Goshen

The on-again, off-again plans to improve U.S. 33 on Goshen's southeast side are on again, or at least they will be in a few years.

Posted on April 4, 2011 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on April 4, 2011 at 4:01 a.m.

GOSHEN -- The on-again, off-again plans to improve U.S. 33 on Goshen's southeast side are on again, or at least they will be in a few years.

Plans to upgrade S.R. 19 on Elkhart's west side are also on, but plans to add lanes to S.R. 13 through Middlebury have been abandoned, at least for this decade.

Those are some of the local details of the statewide transportation plan through 2015, a plan on which the Indiana Department of Transportation wants public input.

INDOT also wants public input on how they develop the long-range transportation plans for the state through 2035, and planners will be available in Fort Wayne to talk with people April 11.

U.S. 33

This project got bumped late in 2009 -- after local public hearings on the project -- due to drops in state revenue. Originally planned to start construction in 2012, the first phase is now set to start construction in 2015.

That phase, the stretch between College Avenue and Monroe Street, will cost an estimated $14.5 million in property acquisition and construction of added lanes, according to the 2015 plan.

The remainder of the project remains up in the air, though. Goshen officials would prefer a bridge that would take traffic over the Ninth Street railroad tracks, alleviating the railroad-crossing problem. That, though, could eat through much of the remainder of the $36.5 million budget for the project. Plans in 2009 called for INDOT to widen U.S. 33 from College Avenue out to C.R. 40, but it may not go that far, depending on how much money the improvements cost between Monroe Street and Main Street downtown.

"The remaining portion of the corridor from C.R. 40 to College Avenue and Monroe Street to Main Street is currently under evaluation and consideration for (fiscal year) 2016 funding," said Toni Mayo, a spokeswoman for the INDOT Fort Wayne district.

"This project is currently in engineering assessment phase, however a preferred alternate has yet to be selected. It is planned for the project to have a public hearing," Mayo said.

S.R. 13

The controversial plan to add lanes to S.R. 13 from U.S. 20 to the north side of Middlebury, right through the heart of town, won't happen anytime soon.

At a meeting March 24 in Fort Wayne, INDOT planners met with representatives of the Michiana Area Council of Governments as part of the transportation planning process.

At that meeting, planners discussed the traffic counts for the project. Future estimates of traffic didn't show the need for the added lanes, so the project was moved beyond 2020 to a to-be-determined future construction target date, though there could be some intersection improvements in town sooner, according to notes provided by INDOT.

Plans call for repaving S.R. 13 between S.R. 4 and the north side of Middlebury in 2013 at a cost of $3.8 million.

U.S. 20

The upgrades to expand U.S. 20 east beyond the end of the bypass are still in the works for the next two years.

The bulk of construction will happen in 2013, according to the draft of the near-term plans. That matches up with last year's announcement by Bob Alderman, deputy commissioner for INDOT, who said the state sped up the upgrades to help the area economically.

U.S. 20 will be widened to five lanes east of where the bypass ends today.

Construction is set to start next year on the $15 million project, which will add travel lanes to the U.S. highway between C.R. 17 and S.R. 15.

S.R. 19

Upgrades to the highway will continue between Nappanee and the west side of Elkhart over the next few years.

In Elkhart, road reconstruction will happen next year between Lusher Avenue and Bypass Road at a cost of more than $16 million, according to the short-term plans.

Right-of-way acquisition is already done and utility relocation will happen this summer, Mayo said.

The highway south of Elkhart will get million-dollar intersection improvements in 2015 at C.R. 38, C.R. 52 and S.R. 119, according to the plans. The intersection with C.R. 28 will also get an upgrade that year, and several small bridges between C.R. 32 and C.R. 46 are all slated for replacement that year.

Those supplement upgrades on Wakarusa's south side and are part of longer-range goals to expand the intersections along the highway, which has been repeatedly identified in past plans as needing work.

"INDOT has been working on systematic upgrades of substandard intersections along this section of S.R. 19," Mayo said.

PUBLIC INPUT

The Fort Wayne meeting covers that INDOT district, which includes Elkhart, Kosciusko and LaGrange Counties. It's scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. April 11 at the district office, 5333 Hatfield Road, Fort Wayne.

There will be a 15- to 20-minute presentation at 2 p.m. on the long-range plan, according to Stacie DelaCuesta, spokeswoman for INDOT's Fort Wayne district. Otherwise it's an open house format where people can talk with planners and view informational booths to get information about projects and planning goals

There will be a similar meeting at the LaPorte district office Tuesday from 1 to 5 p.m. That district covers St. Joseph and Marshall counties. The address for that meeting is 315 E. Boyd Blvd., LaPorte.

People can also view and comment on the draft of the statewide transportation plan, which includes projects for 2012 through 2015, at indot.in.gov/2926.htm, and the draft of the long-range plan will be available at www.in.gov/indot/div/2035LongRangePlan.htm.




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