Construction is set to begin next week on a new roundabout just north of Nappanee.
Weather permitting, crews will begin widening S.R. 19 around the S.R. 119 and C.R. 44 crossing in the first week of June, according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Transportation.
During this phase of the $2.5 million project, flaggers will direct traffic through the construction zone.
In the second phase of construction, expected to begin in mid- to late summer, S.R. 119 will be closed, although the location of the closure and the detour routes haven’t been determined yet, said Nichole Hacha-Thomas, media relations director for INDOT’s Fort Wayne district.
C.R. 44 will also be closed at the S.R. 119 intersection.
S.R. 19 will remain open during this phase, but the lane width will be restricted to 11 feet, according to the news release.
In late summer or early fall, the roundabout at S.R. 19 and S.R. 119 will open, but C.R. 44 West will remain closed until the project is completed in late October, Hacha-Thomas said.
“We know it’s going to be a big project, it’s going to snarl traffic and it will be a change for residents,” Hacha-Thomas said. “We just asked that people keep their minds open and give it a chance. Most people will find it is much easier to get through that very interesting intersection (with a roundabout).”
Residents in the area around the project expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of the roundabout at public meetings held by INDOT in 2013.
Several residents were concerned a roundabout would slow traffic and cause congestion along the busy S.R. 19, while others said the money going into the project could be better used elsewhere.
Farmers were concerned their trucks and farm equipment would not fit in the roundabout. The Elkhart County Farm Bureau said the roundabout could prove hazardous for the milk and livestock trucks that frequently pass through that intersection.