Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 29, 2013

Residents don’t like C.R. 29/U.S. 6 bridge proposal


— SYRACUSE — Monica Lambright is a postal worker in Syracuse.

She voiced her opinion on  a proposed new bridge to carry C.R. 29 over U.S. 6 in Elkhart County during a public hearing at Wawasee High School Wednesday evening.

Indiana Department of Transportation officials told an audience of approximately 35 at the meeting there will be no access off C.R. 29 with the proposed bridge.

“I don’t think the bridge is necessary. A light might be better,” Lambright said. “(Mail delivery) will be impacted a lot if a bridge is built and carriers will have to figure out how to get down and around (C.R. 29), it’s a concern. They don’t need to spend money on an overpass.”

The purpose of the proposed project is to enhance safety by addressing accident frequency at the intersection of U.S. 6 and C.R. 29, INDOT officials said.

In the last two years, officials told the audience there have been 17 crashes recorded at that intersection and six of those crashes had nine people with recorded injuries.

Several different improvements have been done in low-cost single quick fixes, said Dana Plattner, INDOT traffic engineer.

“The bottom line...it hasn’t worked,” Plattner told John Longenbaugh, a local resident.

Logenbaugh agreed the intersection can be dangerous.

“People are inattentive and they have to be attentive. If people are attentive, they should negotiate it fine,” Longenbaugh said. “But by building the bridge, you eliminate the on and off (for local residents).”

INDOT officials did not provide a proposed cost during the public hearing. Construction for the proposed project has been anticipated for 2016 and will require approximately 11 acres of new permanent right-of-way with no displacement of residents or businesses anticipated as part of this project.

Traffic will be maintained on U.S. 6 with shoulder restrictions anticipated during construction of the proposed bridge abutments. Due to the closure of C.R. 29, the proposed maintenance of traffic would require local traffic to be detoured using the routes of Ind. 13, and C.R. 46.

“When they put a bridge in, it takes access from people who live near there. Will that be for the best?” Longenbaugh said. “I hate to see that taken away and they have to find alternative routes. Basically, I’m against it (the proposed bridge).”

Of the dozen or so people who spoke, all but a truck driver were against it.