OrthoWorx, the Corporate Partnership for Economic Growth (CPEG) and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership (NEIRP) announced today an agreement for a cooperative effort to convene and engage various stakeholders to increase the awareness of challenges represented by the current status of US 30 and to develop a long-term effort to create interstate-like access from SR 49 (Valparaiso) to I-69 (Fort Wayne), and to better connect with available north-south routes.
US 30 serves as the primary east-west thruway for many communities across Northern Indiana. From Fort Wayne to Valparaiso, US 30 serves as “the interstate” for the attraction of new businesses, operation of existing businesses and for residents seeking to connect to markets west of Chicago and southeast of Fort Wayne. Movement of products and employee travel are critical for the Warsaw-based orthopedic industry cluster and depend on US 30, as well.
“We look forward to working with our partners and other stakeholders who will come along beside us to investigate how improvements to our main east-west artery could improve quality of life and economic development prospects along the corridor,” said Sheryl Conley, President and CEO of OrthoWorx, whose affiliate, the Orthopedics Capital Foundation, is providing funding for this project. “We know that transportation and logistics are a major factor in how businesses choose to concentrate their resources and the same factors affect safety and convenience for all of our citizens. We appreciate the willingness of CPEG and NEIRP to join us in this effort.”
Improving US 30 has been identified as a top priority by each of the Conexus regional logistics councils in Northeast, North Central and Northwest Indiana, which were formed to provide regional input to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) in their planning. Industry typically avoids developing along bottleneck routes, and resident safety rapidly declines along congested highways. OrthoWorx, CPEG and NEIRP will work in concert with Conexus and their partners to identify resources to lead the engagement and awareness effort. INDOT has studied cost estimates and is reviewing the potential economic impact of US 30 improvements.
“Industry leaders have highlighted the need to improve US 30 to ensure the long-term economic health of the corridor,” commented Shawn E. Peterson, the President and CEO of CPEG. “We hope that this effort will encourage the engagement of stakeholders throughout Northern Indiana and identify pathways to make these improvements a reality.”
“Transportation access to major interstates is clearly a Northeast Indiana priority in the Vision 2020 process,” said John Sampson, President and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “We are very pleased to be a part of leading this transformative initiative for northern Indiana.”
In 2012, the economic development leaders across the corridor convened and committed to helping support improving US 30 and furthering the proposed effort. Northwest Indiana organizations, like the Starke County Economic Development Corporation and the Porter County Economic Development Alliance, are also supporting the effort. The partners in the project say that the effort will not compete with existing efforts to complete US 31. The partners, who are devoting a combined $130,000 over two years to the project, are in the process of selecting a consulting firm to coordinate stakeholder input and communications efforts. They hope to conclude that part of the process by year-end.