Elkhart County Surveyor Blake Doriot came before the Syracuse Town Council during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night to discuss the proposed bridge at the intersection of U.S. 6 and CR 29. Doriot explained he has been working with the state to find an alternative to the proposed “fly over” that would prevent access from CR 29 to U.S. 6.
Doriot said he learned the Indiana Department of Transportation will receive an 80 percent match in federal money for the project. However, Doriot and his staff have come up with a number of other less expensive options as has the Elkhart County Highway Department.
The options range from realigning the intersection and having a four-way traffic light to having a two-way access ramp to allow access with a passing blister. “We found a deaf ear from INDOT,” Doriot told the council. “I found a lot of times you have to be forceful with them.”
Doriot has spoken to State Rep. Bill Friend and other state legislators telling them cross access at the intersection is necessary. He also read a letter to the council he wrote and was signed by five of the seven Elkhart County councilmen, two county commissioners, as well as other officials in Elkhart County. The letter will be sent to INDOT, Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, Gov. Mike Pence, Senate Pro Temp David Long and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann.
“I guess the only way to get INDOT to change its mind is with political pressure,” Doriot said. He suggested the town of Syracuse send a similar letter.
“I don’t know if we’ll stop the bridge,” Doriot said, adding he believes the most likely option INDOT will entertain is a bridge with an access ramp.
After some discussion it was decided councilwoman Kathy Beer will draft a letter for the council to sign. Doriot strongly suggested the town send its letter so it be in Indianapolis when the legislative session opens Jan. 6.