ELKHART COUNTY — A roundabout proposed for US 6 and SR 13, north of Syracuse, is now a planned project and has been placed in the five-year road construction plan, “NextLevel Indiana.” The project is currently in the preliminary design phase with construction to take place in 2020. The project is estimated at $2,813,500. Contracts are anticipated to be awarded in 2019.
The roundabout was initially listed in the draft of state preservation and local initiated projects for fiscal years 2016-2019. This draft was released on March 27.
Nichole Hacha-Thomas, media relations director for INDOT Fort Wayne District, stated “The project will use some federal funds, as well as state funds via the Next Level Roads funding plan. Some right-of-way acquisition may be needed to facilitate the project. INDOT does have plans to hold a public hearing to present the preferred design to the public. This is tentatively scheduled for early 2018.”
Hacha-Thomas added, “This is a safety-related project aimed at decreasing the crash rate in the area, as well as improving traffic flow. The current unsignalized intersection saw 28 crashes involving 55 vehicles and 10 injuries in the five-year period between 2008-2013. The roundabout is still in design, but it is planned to have a large truck apron to accommodate farm machinery and large trucks, as well.”
She noted roundabouts have been shown to decrease overall crashes by 35 percent; decrease injury-related crashes by 76 percent and decrease fatal crashes by 81 percent. “They also show a 71 percent reduction in traffic delays (as opposed to a signalized intersection). We know roundabouts can be misunderstood — and that folks don’t always like change — but the roundabout at SR 119/19 is performing well and as more of the traffic circles crop up, drivers will get used to them. They are proved to be safer and more efficient than a traditional four-way intersection, and one of INDOT’s primary goals is to improve the safety and mobility for every driver.”
The “NextLevel Indiana” roads funding plan was established following the passage of House Enrolled Act 1002. HEA 2001 and allows the state to have a sustainable plan to fund roads and bridges for at least the next 20 years, with a fully funded asset management plan for every state-maintained road and bridge. The plan focuses on a user-pays approach, dedicating all of the taxes paid at the pump to road funding. When fully phased in, HAE 1002 will provide $1.2 billion per year in new road funding, about $850 million for state highways and about $350 million for local roads.
Statewide the five-year investment total will be $4,717,287,060. This includes 122 lane miles added, 9,628 lane miles resurfaced and 1,295 bridges rehabbed or replaced.