Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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February 10, 2013

ELKHART COUNTY COUNCIL: ‘Super two’ extension of C.R. 17 in motion

GOSHEN — Elkhart County Council members Saturday gave the green light to begin work on the next phase of C.R. 17, granting a $2 million additional appropriation to the County Highway Department to fund construction of the road’s extension from C.R. 38 to C.R. 40.

“This will be a two-lane section,” said County Highway Manager Jeff Taylor of the project. “It will be in design what we call a ‘super two’. It’s going to have wide, paved shoulders — they will be eight-foot shoulders — and we’re going to have 150 feet of right-of-way.”

According to Taylor, plans for the extension of C.R. 17 had originally called for four-lane sections being constructed all the way to U.S. 6, though funding issues connected to the economy eventually caused the plan to be changed. Instead, the decision was made to end the four-lane C.R. 17 construction at C.R. 40, with the final section between C.R. 38 and C.R. 40 involving a reduced, two-lane limited-access section.

However, since the decision was made to reduce the section from four lanes to two, traffic data has been compiled which indicates that the two-lane section should be adequate to handle the amount of traffic that will likely use the section on a daily basis.

Council President John Letherman questioned whether or not 150 feet of right-of-way would allow for the county to expand the road to four lanes sometime in the future if traffic studies eventually indicate that a wider road is needed.

Taylor indicated that expanding the two-lane section to four lanes would be a possibility within a 150-foot right-of-way, but perhaps not to the extent that it has been done with other sections of the roadway.

“You could engineer an urban section curb and gutter and get four lanes in there,” Yoder said. “But if you want a rural section that you see all the way up to Big Bridge (over U.S. 33), you’re going to need more right-of-way, with large swales, etc.”

Taylor noted that buying more right-of-way would also require purchasing at least one home along the stretch and possibly a nearby business, adding additional expense to the project.

“So if push comes to shove,” Letherman said, “if we want it, if the traffic counts justify four lanes, we can do it.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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