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Road Sage for December 31, 2011

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Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
The Fort-to-Port highway will upgrade U.S. 24 from eastern Allen County to Toledo.

I-469 ramp to U.S. 24 to stay

The Fort-to-Port project will include millions of dollars of upgrades to improve safety from here to Ohio but will not include renovation of the highway’s starting point in eastern Allen County.

Q. Is INDOT planning to update the interchange of U.S. 24 and Interstate 469 to alleviate the increased truck traffic that at least I am seeing in that area. – Tim

A. Well, Tim, there are plans to do that, but not anytime soon.

As I’m sure you are aware, Indiana and Ohio are working on joint projects to convert U.S. 24 into an interstate-type highway with limited access from Fort Wayne to Toledo.

The project does include some interchange/intersection upgrades and begins basically at I-469. Unfortunately, it does not include immediate changes to that interchange. Toni Mayo, spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said the update of that interchange is a long-range project with no current money to pay for it. She said it’s uncertain when such a project would be initiated.

The current intersection, as you likely know, doesn’t offer a free flow onto U.S. 24, instead having to stop and turn. Creating that uniform interchange might be needed in the future, but it doesn’t appear to be coming for some time.

The final section of Indiana’s $170 million portion of the project starts just west of I-469 and is expected to be completed next year. While sections west of Indiana 101 have been completed, they will not be opened until the section by the interstate is done. The road is finished and open to traffic from Indiana 101 into Ohio.

Q. My wife and I ride the bike path along Lima Road often and crossing Dupont Road is very tricky. We only cross on a green light, but cars aren’t looking for us. Is there something that could be done to make this safer before someone gets hurt? – Lynn Reed

A. There are plans to make the area safer, Lynn, but not for a couple of years.

Shan Gunawardena and Dawn Ritchie, the city’s traffic engineer and greenway manager, said you are correct in that there is no crosswalk on the east side of the Lima-Dupont intersection. For this reason, the pedestrian signals don’t exist, mainly because there is no sidewalk for people to cross to on the north side of the street.

The good news is that in 2014 the city plans to improve Dupont from Lima to Coldwater Road. This will not only widen Dupont but add a sidewalk on the north side of Dupont and a trail on the south side.

After the sidewalk is installed, a crosswalk and pedestrian signal will be added to your intersection. I hope you can wait.

Radio Sage

This week’s bonus audio question comes from Bob Wearley, who asked about erosion along Interstate 469. The segment originally aired Friday afternoon on WOWO and can be heard online at www.journalgazette.net/roadsage.

Road Sage provides transportation knowledge, solves driving dilemmas and answers construction conundrums. It appears every Saturday. Email your questions to roadsage@jg.net.

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