GOSHEN — With Utilimaster relocating from Wakarusa to Bristol, the Elkhart County commissioners signed a letter of support Monday, Jan. 4, to allow for a new access road to be built between C.R. 23 and S.R. 15.
The town of Bristol plans to enter into an agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation to help pay for the construction of the new road north of C.R. 10, which would be named Industrial Drive. The new road would create access to Earthway Industrial Park where Utilimaster, a commercial vehicle manufacturer, is setting up shop. If approved by INDOT, Industrial Drive will be built within Elkhart County but outside the town’s jurisdiction, according to the letter signed by the commissioners.
The county’s engineering staff has reviewed a traffic impact study for the road construction project as well as a conceptual site plan provided for the proposed road.
“INDOT is requiring the county to be on board with this program,” county highway manager Jeff Taylor told the commissioners.
After the new road is completed, or possibly sooner, the stretch of C.R. 10 between C.R. 23 and S.R. 15, Industrial Drive and the section of C.R. 23 between C.R. 10 north to town limits will be annexed by Bristol. The annexation would include both the intersection of C.R. 23 at Industrial Drive and S.R. 15 at Industrial Drive, according to the letter. The town also plans to close C.R. 10 after the annexation.
Bristol town manager Bill Wuthrich said the road project is still in the preliminary stages, so there will be no official timeline until INDOT approves the plan. He said some of Utilimaster’s operations have moved to Bristol, but no production has started at the 420,000-square-foot facility on Earthway Boulevard. Wuthrich said company president John Forbes told him that some production of truck bodies and delivery vans could begin at the Bristol plant as early as this spring with more production picking up at the new location late this summer.