The intersection of U.S. 6 and CR 29 has been identified by Indiana Department of Transportation’s Office of Traffic Safety on it’s Five Percent Report of areas with higher-than-average crash rates. A public hearing on a proposed fix to the problem is scheduled for later this month. (See story)
Sgt. Trent Smith, public information officer for Indiana State Police, Bremen District 24, provided information from the state’s crash reports statistics, showing between Aug. 1, 2011, and Tuesday, 23 accidents have occurred at that intersection. Seven of those collisions resulted in injuries. No fatalities were shown on the report he provided.
The primary factors of the accidents at that intersection were failure to yield the right of way, with other factors listed as speed too fast for weather conditions, following to closely, animal or object in the roadway.
The last accident on that report was an Aug. 2 accident in which three were injured.
In reviewing the project, available at Syracuse Public Library, 115 E. Main St., the properties involved include:
- Mikeal and Cynthia Brown, located on the northwest corner
- Jerry W. and Tammy Stewart, property on the northeast corner and second house north of the intersection;
- Aaron Schwarts, a portion of farm ground to the northeast of the intersection;
- Sergio Salinas, first home on the northeast side of the intersection
- James and Janie Fackler, on the northeast side of the intersection, second home
- Prairie Meadows LLC, farmland on the southeast side of the intersection
- Max and Marlene Evans, first home north of the intersection (according to the Elkhart County GIS mapping system)
- Michael A. and Christina Haab, home and farmland on the southwest corner of the intersection
An aerial view, which outlines the area of potential effect also shows additional property possibly to be effected are those owned by Paul Hasse and Barb Hyrnewycz on U.S. 6 at the far west edge of the project and those at the far north end of the project owned by Norm Miller, Wesley and Lois Bowser, Mary Hook, Derrick and Beth Schmucker, Harold and Norma Davidsen and Tim Graff, all on CR 29.
Mary Foster, INDOT media relations for the Fort Wayne District, noted an illustration of the proposed project will be available at the hearing and “should be easier to understand than the formal plans.”
Affected Parties Notified
According to Christy Haab, property owners were asked permission by INDOT to take soil samples from their property around the first of the year with mention of a CR 29 bridge. However, they have never been notified by INDOT what impact it will have on them as property owners, or what will happen to their property. The only other contact from INDOT has been an invitation to attend the public hearing.
Foster noted INDOT cannot address parcel-specific questions prior to the public hearing with right-of-way acquisition being noted in the plans.
Foster also stated not having any prior discussion with effected property owners is fairly common. She added the project manager has spoken with several homeowners, responding to specific questions.
Haab noted the use of the farm ground is the family’s livelihood.
Documentation in the plan shows that none of the three farm properties are eligible for National Registry of Historic Property because they have all undergone significant alteration, which have impacted each one’s integrity and all lack any architectural or historical significance. Thus recommending the project proceed as planned.
Among the numerous documents on display, it notes that the bridge on CR 29 will have a 16.5-foot clearance over U.S. 6 and be 92 feet long, 26 feet, 4 inches wide west to east. The project length west to east on U.S. 6 is 1,050 feet, and 2,150 feet south to north on CR 29. This information was presented to the Elkhart County Commissioners, dated Oct. 29, 2012, and signed by Karen Novack, environmental scientist.
Following the public hearing the next step will be right of way acquisition in which INDOT real estate division will talk with individual property owners.