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Proposed intersection changes draw concern

Monday, February 5, 2007

Proposed changes at the Bloomington Street (U.S. 231) and Veteran's Memorial Highway (Ind. 240) intersection in Greencastle have local officials and business owners concerned.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is planning to widen all four corners of the intersection to allow more room for semi-tractor trailers making the turn from one road to the other.

"They have to swing way out to make that turn," City Engineer Glen Morrow said of semis at the current intersection.

INDOT is also planning to add a right turn lane for northbound traffic on Bloomington Street that is turning east on Veteran's Memorial, headed toward Wal-Mart Distribution.

The reason for these changes is to improve the flow of vehicles through that intersection.

But a third addition to the intersection hasn't been as well received by local officials.

Morrow said INDOT is proposing the construction of a raised median on the north side of the intersection running from the stoplight north, past Broadway Street.

He said the reason for the change is to prevent cars that are heading north on Bloomington from turning left onto Broadway.

Mayor Nancy Michael said the concern is that cars attempting to turn left onto Broadway are backing up traffic in the intersection of Bloomington and Veteran's Highway behind them.

"It's a safety concern," Michael said.

Michael said the city is opposed this change because they feel it will have a negative effect on businesses that are located on Broadway, including the JM Feed Center and Mama Nunz restaurant.

In response, the city has created a proposal of its own and is awaiting a ruling from INDOT, possibly in the next few days.

Morrow said the city is suggesting that instead of installing a raised median, INDOT should simply widen Bloomington Street and add a left turn lane for cars turning onto Broadway, which would allow cars to continue heading north on Bloomington.

Morrow said he hopes to meet with INDOT in the next few days to discuss the matter. He said the public is welcome to stop by his office at city hall to look at a set of drawings for the intersection.

Meanwhile, INDOT has not begun to approach property owners in the area about buying extra right-of-way for the intersection, Morrow said. Construction could begin in late 2008 but is more likely to begin in 2009.

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