WINONA LAKE — The Winona Lake Town Council and members of the community attending its monthly regular meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 20, heard the first presentation on a proposed roundabout that the town hopes will dress up its northwestern entrance, as well as provide fluidity for incoming and outgoing traffic.
Representatives from A & Z Engineering of Fort Wayne showed the audience artist renderings of the roundabout, which will replace a stoplight now operating at the town’s entrance.
Winona Lake is proceeding with the planning phase of the project, which will be financed by an 80-20 grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Jamal Anabtawi of A & Z Engineering told the board that the design of the 140-foot diameter roundabout is known as a teardrop, which allows for a continuous right lane of traffic to enter the town from the west on Winona Avenue.
“This is the best you could do,” Anabtawi said. “This is not your typical roundabout. It’s called a teardrop roundabout and the reason for that is to have a continuous right lane.”
Anabtawi said the speed limit will be reduced to 35 miles per hour then there will be yield signs for any traffic coming into the roundabout.
“It caters to both the heavy traffic now coming in from Winona Avenue and Argonne,” said Nitin Timble of A & Z Engineering.
While the project is designed to keep traffic moving in and out of the town, council member Tecy Banta pointed out that there would still likely be congestion coming in and going out to the north. Banta’s point is that the road to the north flows under a railroad overpass, which one audience member estimated could have been built as early as the 1880s.
Banta said that the board should be looking ahead 50 years and encouraged town leaders to at least try to communicate with the railroad to see about the future of that trestle. She said that trends seem to indicate that high-speed rail could be coming in the future and if so, a demolition and reconstruction of the more than century-old structure could be in the offing.
“It seems to me that it should be our responsibility to begin those talks,” she said.
Anabtawi and Town Coordinator Craig Allebach were both quick to point out that railroad companies are historically uncooperative when it comes to spending money on such projects.
“The railroad is changing, they’re doing big stuff and Winona Lake needs to be heard about this,” Banta said.
“We’ve been in those high-speed rail meetings,” said Allebach. “But it would take an act of God to get that. We can’t even get them to fix it or make it look good.”
Anabtawi mirrored Allebach’s comments.
“It’s almost impossible to get anyone to cooperate (from the railroad),” he said.
Banta said trying to get the steps necessary to make the roundabout relevant for a longer period of time would be worth at least the effort of trying to avoid the cost of retrofitting improvements later.
“What’s required and what’s auspicious to do with some forethought are maybe very different,” Banta said. “So, I would encourage all of us to take a look 50 years down the road.”
The representatives of A & Z Engineering said that later meetings will discuss designs for drainage in the project.
In other business, the board:
- Heard a presentation of Healthy Shorelines.
- Heard a presentation on Winona Happenings, including Community Prayer at the Lakeside Chapel, Nov. 30 at 7 a.m.; Kringlefest at the Winona Lake Senior Center, Dec. 1 from 1 to 3:30 p.m.; Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Village at Winona, Dec. 1, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Grace College Worship Arts Christmas Concert at the Winona Heritage Room, Dec. 2, 7 p.m.