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Wrecks prompt INDOT project

INDOT PROJECT: Shown in an aerial satelite image of the Ind. 24 and County Road 300 East intersection, the Indiana Department of Transportation plans to close the two medians that currently clear a path for left-hand turns and construct one median, blocking left turns and redirecting drivers to make a right turn followed by a U-turn instead.

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announced that they will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, March 20 regarding an upcoming project to redesign the intersection of Ind. 24 and County Road 300 East.

INDOT will hold their hearing for the project at 6 p.m. at Northfield Jr./Sr. High School. According to a press release from INDOT, the purpose of the project is to “improve safety at the intersection,” by eliminating left turn traffic with medians that will force drivers to turn right from either direction on 300 East and then make a U-turn.

According to project documents, which are available to the public at Wabash Carnegie Public Library, the project is scheduled to run from March 2020 to November 2020 at an estimated $1.1 million cost for construction.

INDOT documents state that “the need for this project is evident from a significant crash history” at the intersection. An engineer’s report attached to the proposed work plan lists crash data from 2011 to 2015 that indicated around 72 percent of the crashes that occurred at the Ind. 24 and 300 East intersection were right-angle crashes involving northbound and westbound vehicles.

INDOT began surveying the area in 2017 to determine the impact of any roadwork. The proposal states that normal traffic and school bus routes will be “inconvenienced” during construction, but says “no significant delays are anticipated.”

Wabash County Commissioners Barry Eppley and Jeff Dawes said they’re aware of the project and the growing concerns related to it.

“I’ve received a few emails from concerned citizens in Lagro,” Dawes said Thursday. “They’re not in favor of it, but we’re hoping to learn more at the public hearing.”

Eppley said he’s certain that the plan for a median will reduce accidents in the area but wasn’t “sure whether it will justify the inconvenience.”