Hold on — it may be fall, but roadwork in Elkhart County isn’t done yet

Several road projects remain in the works around Elkhart County though summer has turned to fall.
Posted on Sept. 29, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Sept. 29, 2013 at 3:52 p.m.

It’s fall, but that doesn’t mean road projects have fallen by the wayside.

Things are winding down for the year, but there are still a few projects out there that motorists have to contend with. Here’s a rundown of some of the remaining roadwork in Elkhart County:

Ÿ S.R. 19, Elkhart: It’s still slow going on S.R. 19 between Lusher Avenue and the St. Joseph River to the north, focus of an ongoing upgrade overseen by the Indiana Department of Transportation.

“There still a lot of congestion,” said Amanda Govaert, who lives and works in the area and frequently drives S.R. 19. Traffic between 2 and 7 p.m., at least — when she uses the road — can be “stop and go.”

A center turn lane is being added to the roadway and traffic has been winnowed from two lanes in each direction to just one. Compounding things, Franklin Street off the east side of S.R. 19 is closed so the crossing can be rebuilt, though the roadway on the west side of S.R. 19, previously closed, has reopened.

Adding to headaches, Govaert said a quick traffic light at the S.R. 19-Indiana Avenue crossing frequently leads to traffic back-ups on the westbound Indiana Avenue approach to S.R. 19, also known as Nappanee Street.

On the bright side, the roadwork may be done by year’s end, according to INDOT spokeswoman Mary Foster. She doesn’t have a precise date, but noted that if the work does get done yet in 2013, that would be ahead of the contracted completion date of August 2014.

Ÿ C.R. 6-Ash Road roundabout: Construction of a roundabout at the C.R. 6-Ash Road crossing led to closure of the crossing in late July. The work is now done and the new-and-improved crossing reopened to traffic on Friday, Sept. 27.

“Everything seems to be going just fine,” said Gary Cole of the Troyer Group. He’s a consultant to St. Joseph County roads officials, who spearheaded the project since the crossing is actually in St. Joseph County, just west of the boundary with western Elkhart County.

The crossing had been controlled by stop signs on each of the four approaches.

Ÿ S.R. 933 bridge, St. Joseph County: The new span taking shape over Baugo Creek along S.R. 933 in St. Joseph County may be done slightly ahead of schedule, in late October.

Though the INDOT project, which has prompted the closure of S.R. 933 where the new bridge is going in, is in neighboring St. Joseph County, it’s just west of the boundary with Elkhart County, and the impact has been felt here in Baugo Township. S.R. 933 becomes Old U.S. 33 when the roadway crosses into Elkhart County and the bridge outage is cause for frequent congestion where the roadway meets Ash Road, also known as County Line Road.

INDOT spokesman Matt Deitchley said S.R. 933 should be reopened by Nov. 1, as previously stated, but that it may be even sooner than that, sometime at the end of October.

Ÿ U.S. 20, east of Elkhart: For now, the bulk of the work along U.S. 20 east of C.R. 17 further east to S.R. 15 consists of relocation of utility lines, according to Foster, the INDOT spokeswoman. The roadway is to be widened in the section, from one travel lane in each direction to two lanes with a center turn lane.

With winter approaching, it’s not yet clear what sort of work will happen when the cold weather sets in. “Dependent on weather and utility relocation, if the contractor chooses to work through the fall/winter, the work would likely revolve around pavement removal and pipe/structure work,” Foster said.

Already, trees have been removed at spots along U.S. 20 to accommodate a wider roadway. The roadway has been narrowed at the eastern end of the project section, west of S.R. 15, to allow work just to the south.

The INDOT project is to be done by the fall of 2014.

Ÿ C.R. 6, east of Elkhart: The roadway is being repaved between Osolo Road and C.R. 17, according to Elkhart County Transportation Manager Jeff Taylor. It remains open to traffic in the meantime and the work should be done this year.

Ÿ Railroad crossings: The Greene Road and C.R. 15 crossings over the Norfolk Southern Railroad line parallel to U.S. 33 in the Goshen and Dunlap area were closed earlier in September to permit work by the railroad there, according to Norfolk Southern spokeswoman Susan Terpay.

The C.R. 15 crossing was to reopen Saturday, Sept. 28, while the Greene Road crossing is to reopen Oct. 4, according to Terpay. The Peddlers Village Road crossing, too, was closed, according to Mary Cripe, city engineer for Goshen, and was expected to open Monday, Sept. 30, or thereafter.

Norfolk Southern is laying new rail and surfacing the crossings in a 25-mile segment in the Elkhart area, according to Terpay. More crossing upgrades are anticipated this year in St. Joseph County as well as at the Indiana Avenue crossing in Goshen.

Ÿ Monroe Street bridge, Goshen: The deck of the Monroe Street crossing over Rock Run Creek in eastern Goshen is being replaced and the work, which has halted traffic there, is to be done by Dec. 20. The start date was slowed by delays in removal of utility lines there, according to Tom Rushlow, engineer for the Elkhart County Highway Department, which is overseeing the project.

The $462,000 project also calls for the widening of the span to accommodate a new bike path taking shape along Monroe from U.S. 33 to the eastern end of the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds. Work on the $813,423 bike path, funded mainly with federal dollars, is to start Monday and finish in mid-December, according to Cripe.

Ÿ Simonton Avenue bridge, Elkhart: The Simonton Avenue bridge over Christiana Creek in Elkhart is being replaced and the work should be done by Oct. 25, maybe earlier, according to Rushlow.

The $340,000 project, which started in July, aims to address normal wear and tear to the crossing. The deck will be replaced but the existing abutments will remain largely intact.

Ÿ Main Street, Jefferson Street, Goshen: Jefferson Street east of Main Street is being reconstructed and sewer lines under Main Street there are getting attention. That’s led to the closure of Jefferson Street and the narrowing of Main Street at the spot.

The Jefferson Street work should be done by Nov. 15 and Cripe thinks the Main Street work will end before that.

Reporter Nick Wesman contributed to this story.

Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack.


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