Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 26, 2014

Waterford Mills residents get peek at overpass plan


By JOHN KLINE john.kline@goshennews.com
Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — Preliminary plans for the proposed linkup of the Waterford Mills Parkway from Regent Street to Ind. 15 were revealed Wednesday evening during a special public hearing held at the Police and Courts Building in downtown Goshen.

The meeting, hosted by Jones Petrie Rafinski Corp. (JPR), the consultant engineer designer hired by the city to oversee the project, was billed as both a way to provide the public with the preliminary plan drawings and environmental impact study for the project while also giving the public the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed project.

According to Ken Jones of JPR, the original idea behind the Waterford Mills Parkway project, also knows as the South Link Road, was to provide a safe, convenient, high traffic roadway link around the Goshen Central Business District for both through traffic and local traffic.

“The project need was demonstrated through a traffic impact study that we completed working with MACOG and the city of Goshen and Elkhart County,” Jones said of the project. “The idea here is to provide that high capacity roadway link and a limited access route through the South Link Road.”

In discussing the scope of the planned roadwork, Jones said a railroad overpass is planned for where the road crosses the Norfolk Southern Railroad line, which he feels will greatly improve traffic flow in the area.

“It will be a very nicely done, very attractive looking bridge and approach,” Jones said.

In addition to the roadway link and bridge, Jones said the proposed project will also improve sections of deteriorating pavement along South Main Street in the area of Waterford Mills, improve safety for pedestrians and provide Americans with Disabilities Act compliant pedestrian features along the corridor, among other improvements.

“So it’s going to be a substantial improvement,” Jones said of the project. “We would expect there to be some impacts during construction, and most of that will be on Ind. 15. But the plan is to keep Ind. 15 open to traffic 100 percent of the time. That means residents will have access to their homes on a daily basis. It may not be as convenient as you’d like it to be, but construction is painful, and sometimes we have to suffer that for the greater good.’

Jones noted that there will likely be several nearby homes and properties that will need to be acquired in order for all of the necessary right of way to be purchased for the project.

“We will need to start working on the right of way acquisition phase of this project,” Jones said. “That’s one of the primary reasons to have this meeting, to make sure you understand that if you are a property owner in the corridor, that you have rights.”

Jones indicated that any homes and residences acquired through the right of way process will be handled using the concept of fair market value. He also said that residents of the Waterford Mills area who wish to submit comments, questions or concerns related to the project have until March 12 to do so.

Those wishing to submit inquiries via mail should send their comments to JPR, 4703 Chester Drive, Elkhart, IN 46516, ATTN: Mark Wilson. Comments or questions may also be emailed to Mark Wilson at mwilson@jpr1ssource.com.

Jones said the plan is to begin construction on the corridor by mid-2015.

As currently planned out, Jones said total cost for the project including right of way acquisition, design costs, legal fees, etc., should fall somewhere in the range of $9.9 million.