J-turn ArgosMore than 100 people sat quietly and listened for 45 minutes as INDOT attempted to sell the J-Turn project to the Argos community Tuesday night.

Their PowerPoint presentation spoke about the proposed J-Turns being the best alternative they looked at.  Their options were: do nothing at all which wouldn’t improve safety at the intersection; signalize the intersection but said the traffic counts on State Road 10 doesn’t warrant a light; construct an interchange but it would address the safety factor in a timely fashion; and J-Turns.

INDOT officials told those gathered in the Argos School Auditorium that J-Turns reduce crashes and severity significantly.  During the presentation they also said installation of the J-Turns would not affect the idea of an interchange in the future.

Once the floor was open for public comment, it was just a few short minutes before it was understood that those attending the meeting were not in favor of the proposal. Nineteen different people spoke, many with comments and some with questions.  INDOT limited comments to 2 minutes and told the group that questions would not be answered or discussed in the public hearing but rather in the hall where INDOT team members were ready to speak one-on-one with residents.

Charles Snead from the Argos Town Council said, “Speaking for myself, we (the Argos Community) are not in favor of J-Turns to solve the problem.”  He commented that down around the Indy area there are all kinds of new roads and interchanges. He also said the J-Turns make it almost impossible for the Amish Horse and Buggies to use them.

County Commissioner Kevin Overmyer read a letter from State Senator Randy Head who expressed his opposition to J-Turns and said, “There are more efficient alternative.” Overmyer commented his self, “Once this is done you (INDOT) will never be back,” Indicating that INDOT wouldn’t put in a interchange once the J-Turns were in place.

Councilman Mike Delp commented about the numbers of students who attend Culver Academies and visitors.  He also said is J-Turns are so great, why aren’t there any in Kokomo, Westfield, Carmel or Indy.

Judith Ditmire, a former school board member voiced her concern for school buses.  She also asked if INDOT had looked a traffic counts during the 4-H Fair, Notre Dame games, festivals, CMA and weather.  She also told INDOT officials that her daughter was one of their statistics and while her daughter was fine, she’d be willing to wait to do the project right with an interchange instead of the J-Turns.

Steve Strycker said his family uses the State Road 10 crossover multiple times a day and that Argos is “getting the shaft” with this J-turn Proposal.

Andy Stone called the INDOT proposal of a J-Turn a “band-aid fix”.

Doug Middleton, Assistant Superintendent of Argos is a school board member and been on the fire and EMS department for almost 20 year.  He presented petitions with over 700 signatures opposed to J-Turns.  He then asked anyone in the auditorium in favor of the proposed project to stand up…..NO ONE DID!  He also commented that reducing the number of crashed by 50% was good but an interchange could basically illuminate crashes.  Middleton also said the Federal Traffic Administration numbers show that the US 31 & SR 10 intersection does not qualify for a J-Turn.

Jerry Chavez, Executive Director of Marshall County Economic Development Corporation told the group that his boar do directors voted in opposition of the J-Turns.  He also suggested the negative impact they could have on the development of a multi-million dollar shell building project for Argos.  Chavez also asked if INDOT had considered the economic impact their project would have on Argos and what the return on investment was.

Following the formal public hearing session INDOT representatives were available for additional comments and questions in the lobby of the school.

A decision on the J-Turn option will be made by November.  If INDOT continues with the project, construction will begin in 2018 and be complete that same year.