By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
NAPPANEE — Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson told Indiana Department of Transportation officials they have a challenge with the proposed single-lane roundabout at Ind. 19, Ind. 119 and C.R. 44.
“We have buggies, tractors, farm equipment and trucks. It has to work,” Thompson said. “We have met with INDOT officials and getting all the information about it and how it works. It has to work...that is the challenge.”
The mayor spoke during an INDOT public information meeting Wednesday evening at NorthWood High School with a crowd of about 60 people in attendance.
INDOT officials said the first phase of the project slated for construction in 2015 includes keeping Ind. 19 open during construction and having a detour for Ind. 119 and C.R. 44 East. Cr. 44 West will remain open during Phase 1.
There will be real estate acquisition activities in 2013 and 2014 with appraising, negotiations and buying, as well as utilities coordination and relocation.
Other community members spoke during the public comment session. They voiced concerns how the roundabout would affect the farming community, the travel time of buses and students driving to school, and the flow of truck traffic.
“This (the roundabout) will accommodate and align to keep traffic moving and we also see the roundabout as an enhancement of safety,” said Rickie Clark, INDOT Office of Public Involvement. “Drivers slow down on approach to the roundabout, they look left, then yield to traffic within the roundabout and merge in to the traffic flow.”
The roundabout will be designed to accommodate oversize trucks with a center island and outside truck aprons for wheels to use with a wide load.
“It has a similar capacity to a signalized intersection and everyone slows down,” said Ryan Clark, project manager for CHA, the consulting firm for the project.
Traffic will shift to the new roundabout on Ind. 19 as it nears completion and Ind. 119 and C.R. 44 will be opened. The C.R. 44 West approach to the roundabout will be constructed. As part of the project, a small bridge will be replaced over Christophel Ditch.
Tom Gibson of Syracuse says he has doubts about the proposed project.
“My personal feelings...make a right-turn lane, a center lane and a left-turn lane on all the roads,” Gibson said. “I’m nervous (about the roundabout and traffic flow). There is no perfect solution.”