County hoping to utilize West Central traffic counts

Friday, August 17, 2018

Having questioned unexpected charges from West Central Indiana Economic Development District earlier this year seems to have opened a line of dialogue for the Putnam County Commissioners.

At their most recent meeting, commissioners Rick Woodall, David Berry and Don Walton heard from West Central Director of Operations Hans Eilbracht as well as Jeremy Weir, who is in charge of the transportation portion of West Central’s services.

Transportation issues — specifically traffic counts — were the reason for the more than $4,000 increase on this year’s WCIEDD invoice.

Weir explained that WCIEDD performs traffic counts every three years in Putnam County at 93 different locations.

County officials were not aware of these counts in part because they are not sent directly to the county. However, they are shared with INDOT and made available through its TrafficWise program.

Weir explained that locally, these counts could be used for Community Crossings grant applications, pavement management and marketing for realtors.

The counts also include a railroad crossing inventory, which can help the county ensure it has the correct advance warning signs and markings.

Berry asked that such information be shared with the Putnam County Highway Department in the future.

“We would love to get up here and work with you because this county has a lot going for it,” Weir said.

In other business:

— The commissioners have been presented with a plan from Hanson Aggregates to improve County Road 900 South.

In the spring of 2017, the quarry approached the commissioners with a plan to begin hauling loads of rock across the county road, pledging to help the county to help with upkeep.

Of its own accord, Hanson has now reported a problem and proposed a solution. Their trucks are continually tracking mud onto the blacktop.

At the intersection, Hanson has proposed repaving the county road for 90 feet in either direction, as well as 40 feet onto its own property in either direction.

This will give the trucks a “clean-out zone” for the mud to wear off before they are on the county portion of the blacktop.

The proposal would cost Hanson $44,000, with no charge to the county.

There is not yet an official contract for the county to sign in the matter.

— At the request of Mayor Bill Dory, the commissioners appointed Emily Knuth to the Greencastle Planning Commission.

The seat had previously been filled by Wayne Lewis, but he had to vacate it when he moved into Greencastle city limits.

The commissioners are responsible for appointing two people who reside outside of city limits, but within the two-mile fringe around the city.

Knuth was appointed to the post, joining Doug Wokoun, the commissioners’ other appointment.

Lewis will remain on the City Plan Commission as a mayoral appointment.

— The commissioners approved a $335,163.75 proposal for Schultz-Lookabill to rehabilitate Bridge 15 on Morton-Russellville Road in Russell Township.

The work is set to be completed by October, but will leave the bridge closed during harvest.

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