Curvy Bypass Road crossing will also be revamped as part of S.R. 19 upgrade
Read more about the S.R. 19 upgrade project here.
ELKHART — The main thrust of the S.R. 19 upgrade is to add a center turn lane along much of the roadway between Lusher Avenue and Bypass Road on the west side of Elkhart.
That'll help improve traffic flow and make it safer to turn left, the Indiana Department of Transportation says.
But there's more to the $14.84 million project than that and here are some of the highlights:
Ÿ Bypass Road — which now curves into S.R. 19, making for a quirky, disjointed intersection — will be straightened out, somewhat. Heading east, it'll still curve north on the west side of S.R. 19, but then it will turn east and meet S.R. 19 at a 90-degree angle, more or less, about 300 feet south of the existing intersection. INDOT bought out a used car lot east of Bypass Road and west of S.R. 19, just south of where they meet, and the new road segment will go there.
S.R. 19 jogs slightly to the west where it meets Bypass Road and that will be straightened out.
Ÿ Franklin Street/Old U.S. 33 will be shifted north about 200 feet from where the roadway currently meets S.R. 19 and the cross street will intersect the highway at a 90-degree angle. The move, including the widening of both roadways where they meet, will allow for a longer backlog of northbound S.R. 19 vehicles waiting to turn left at the crossing.
West of S.R. 19, LaRue Street will be turned into a cul-de-sac west of the newly configured Old U.S. 33.
The newly configured Franklin Street section will tie into the existing corridor about 650 feet east of S.R. 19. The newly configured section of Old U.S. 33, the roadway's name on the west side of S.R. 19, will tie into the existing corridor about 2,000 feet west of S.R. 19.
Ÿ Rainbow Bend Boulevard just north of the St. Joseph River on the east side of S.R. 19 is being turned into a cul-de-sac, meaning there will no longer be an outlet there to S.R. 19. The city of Elkhart sought the change, per the request of those living on the residential street, to elminate traffic flow to and from Elkhart General Hospital to the east.
Rainbow Bend Boulevard will still be open to S.R. 19 on the west side of S.R. 19.
Ÿ The deck of the bridge on the crossing over the St. Joseph River will be rehabbed and storm sewers all along the S.R. 19 stretch will be replaced. Likewise, new sidewalks, curbs and gutters will be installed as well as new pedestrian crosswalks at Franklin Street, Indiana Avenue, Lexington Avenue and Bypass Road.
One thing that won't be revamped in the project is the Norfolk Southern Railroad overpass that crosses S.R. 19 between Lusher and Indiana avenues. The structure is rusting, though structurally sound, and to many an eyesore. But it is owned by Norfolk Southern and does not fall to the jurisdiction of INDOT.
Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore asked Norfolk Southern about the span and company reps said they wouldn't provide any money, but they'd give the city permission to paint the bridge. City officials are looking into the price of such a project.
“It looks terrible,” Moore said.
Rieth-Riley Construction of Goshen is handling the S.R. 19 project.