US 30 coalition roadMore than 60 citizens attended the US 30 Coalition meeting Tuesday evening in the Commissioner’s meeting room of the County Building.

Hosted by Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter and County Commissioner Mike Delp the crowd heard from Dennis Faulkenberg from Appian, a consulting firm that is assisting the coalition with communicating their ideas and recommendations to INDOT prior to the state’s highway agency drawing up plans to change US 30 from a limited access highway  to a freeway.

Faulkenberg said nothing has been decided, in fact the project to turn US 30 into a freeway is not on a list of projects for INDOT at this time.  He said the volume of traffic, over 30,000 daily and over 31% of that being trucks is a concern.

US30Coalition_1INDOT’s traffic modeling is predicting 323 fewer accidents per year and 4 fewer fatalities annually if the freeway project would go through.

In Marshall County there are 45 obstacles to deal with on the highway including: 4 stoplights, 16 intersections, 17 driveway cuts, 4 T-intersections, 3 interchanges and 1 at grade rail crossing.

James Turnwald, Executive Director of MACOG (Michiana Area Council of Governments) offered some statistics exclusively for US 30 in Marshall County.  He said this project is a safety factor and showed the total number of crashes, injuries and fatalities for 2014, 2015 and 2106.  Over all there were 393 crashes, 101 injuries and 1 fatality.

Looking at crashes at the 5 main intersections: US 30 at Oak Drive, Pine Road, Queen Road, King Road and Plymouth Gohen Trail saw 156 accidents during that same three year period and 54 injuries.

US30Coalition_3Nearly two dozen people asked questions or made comments on the project.  While everyone agreed that US 30 is a dangerous road to travel, many are not happy with the possibility of making the road from Valparaiso to Fort Wayne a freeway.

Rick Davenport has concerns with increased traffic on the county road he lives on and commented that the county will have to spend more funds for upkeep because of the increase in traffic.

Those who have farms along US 30 are concerned with having to get their combines from one side of the highway to the other if the freeway were to go in.

US30Coalition_2Chris Johnson asked how the people of Marshall County could assist in working together on a good option for the county.  She was told INDOT would look at data gathered and recommendation the elected officials in the county.   A planning committee of 10 to 20 was recommended along with the help of experts such as Turnwald and Faukenberg.

While this was the first public input session in Marshall County, it is anticipated that more meeting will be happening.

WTCA will keep the citizens of Marshall County informed on the future public input sessions.