GOSHEN -- Motorists who travel the C.R. 6-Ash Road intersection in northwest Elkhart County may be able to go in circles come 2013.
The prevailing design scheme for the planned upgrade there calls for installation of a roundabout, and Elkhart County leaders signed off Monday on an accord with St. Joseph County officials allowing the plans to advance.
Here are some of the details:
Cost: $3.08 million, including design, land acquisition and construction. Elkhart County's share would be $600,000 and St. Joseph County would chip in $615,000. The federal government would pay the most, around $1.87 million.
The reason: The crossing can be "a mess" at peak hours, Elkhart County Transportation Manager Jeff Taylor said. C.R. 6 is a common route from Elkhart County to the Grape Road shopping area in Mishawaka.
Though Taylor said a final decision has yet to be made on design for the upgrade, officials are leaning toward a roundabout. That would potentially be the safest, most efficient way to move traffic, he said.
It also would be the cheapest solution over the long haul, he added. There'd be no traffic lights to deal with and no need for electricity to power such devices.
The parties involved: St. Joseph County road officials are heading the project because Ash Road and the intersection are actually in that county. Because the crossing is right at the Elkhart County line, however, and because many Elkhart County motorists use the intersection, officials here agreed to help with the project, according to the interlocal agreement county commissioners inked Monday.
Timeline: Monday's accord said the project is expected to be complete in 2013. When done, a portion of the roundabout would extend across the county line into Elkhart County.
Other business: Also Monday, Elkhart County commissioners formally approved the call for bids on the next phase of the C.R. 17 upgrade, from C.R. 32 south to C.R. 38.
Bids will be due June 6 and selection of a contractor, presuming there's an acceptable bid, will be sometime after that, Taylor said. Work potentially would begin around July 5, with the project finished by Oct. 12, 2012.
The project, with an estimated $10 million price tag, would complement ongoing upgrades to C.R. 17 from C.R. 28 south to C.R. 32, just west of Goshen. C.R. 17 has already been improved from the Michigan line south to C.R. 28, part of county leaders' vision of turning the road into a north-south transportation arterial in the county.