HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) – State officials are gearing up to study an extension of U.S. 30 between Fort Wayne and Kosciusko County that would bypass stoplight-ridden areas like Columbia City and Warsaw. The proposed study was earmarked into an agreement for the $30 million Lafayette Center Road expansion between Roanoke and I-469.
Information is limited about plans for the busy stretch of U.S. 30. According to its memorandum of understanding, it will “offer at least two alternatives” that would speed up travel between Fort Wayne and Kosciusko County. According to Indiana State Senator David Long (R-Fort Wayne), one of the alternatives would be adding overpasses along problematic intersections. The other would create a whole new limited access expressway.
The money for this study will come from the $400 million transportation bill Indiana legislators recently passed. It will provide cost estimates and a timeline to develop the alternatives. Toni Mayo, communications director for INDOT northeast Indiana, described what leaders will be looking for.
“What’s the impact if we would take a farmers…a piece of their land, would it impact the farmers?” said Mayo. “We’re going to look at businesses, homes, historical areas.”
INDOT leaders say there are approximately 21 stoplights on U.S. 30 between Fort Wayne and Warsaw.
Although U.S. 30 doesn’t even go through Huntington County, commissioners there approved the expansion study Monday morning. Huntington County Surveyor Jay Poe said officials there were surprised to see it slipped in the Lafayette Center Road agreement.
“I thought the $30 million dollar project that we were talking about was big. To do something like this [study] dwarfs a 30 million dollar project,” Poe said.
Still, Mayo said the memorandum of understanding is only the first step in what is expected to be a very extensive process. Because the information about the study is so new, there’s currently no timeline to when it will begin, how long it will take, or when construction could start.
The agreement still needs signed by Allen County Commissioners and the commissioner for the Indiana Department of Transportation. Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters said he is very excited about the possibility of a U.S. 30 expressway to Warsaw. It will be on their agenda Friday.