Mixed reviews at INDOT public hearing on US33 changes in Goshen - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Mixed reviews at INDOT public hearing on US33 changes in Goshen

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Courtesy: INDOT Courtesy: INDOT

A big change could be coming to a major roadway in our area.  INDOT is proposing re-routing US 33 in Goshen so it avoids downtown.  The plan also calls for overpasses to get rid of long waits at railroad crossings.

A public hearing on the matter was held Thursday night where there were mixed reviews.  Some people said it was important to have an alternate route over the railroad tracks while others said, "to move vehicles as quickly as possible does not trump all other livability and environmental concerns."

The current route for US33 through downtown Goshen runs down Madison and Main Streets. Under a proposal from the Indiana Department of Transportation, a new route would be constructed near Goshen High School, northwest along the railroad tracks, and then rejoining the current alignment at Main Street and State Road 15.  About 2,000 feet of the one-mile route would be elevated over three roads.

Thursday night, Project Designer DLZ said the purpose of this new route is to decrease congestion in the city and increase safety.  "There were roughly over 300 crashes in last three years along this segment of the roadway," said Brian Smith with DLZ.

Officials with INDOT said they understand there are concerns with the project, known as the Northern Connector.  They said it would involve acquiring 26 acres of right-of-way, displacing 31 residential buildings and five businesses.

After the formal presentation, several Goshen elected officials spoke, saying this is something the city has needed for a long time.  A member of the Goshen School Board said this would increase safety for the students who walk to schools in the area.

Some members of the community also shared their support, saying they were glad there was finally a plan in place, and the only problem they had was that this should be a four-lane road not just a two-lane road.

But not everyone is on board.  James Gingerich said, "In my perspective this would be a disaster for our neighborhood."

The plans presented Thursday night are just preliminary.  INDOT said they'll take all the public comments into consideration and finalize everything later this year.

If the plan goes through, INDOT expects construction to be in 2016 and 2017

If you'd like to submit a comment on the plan, you can email it to Rickie Clark at rclark@indot.in.gov or Toni Mayo at Neinformation@indot.gov.

INDOT would like all public comment by April 11th.

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