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$30 million set for road project near GM plant

March 20th, 2014

News Coverage:

Published: March 20, 2014 3:00 a.m.

$30 million set for road project near GM plant

Officials credit team approach, legislative push for its approval

Paul Wyche | The Journal Gazette

FORT WAYNE – Northeast Indiana officials say teamwork assisted lawmakers in moving forward with several initiatives – including $30 million to widen Lafayette Center Road near the General Motors Co. truck plant.

On Wednesday, a throng of more than 50 business and government leaders trumpeted the end of the recent legislative session that resulted in funding from the Indiana Department of Transportation.

“That road was never meant for the kind of traffic it gets,” John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said after the gathering at Indiana Tech. “We don’t know when construction could begin, but we got it.”

Allen County Highway Director Bill Hartman said construction is more than a year away.

“The final designs have to be approved by the state and the right of way has to be acquired,” he said.

In addition to the road work, Hartman said construction crews will build a bridge to span over train tracks at Lafayette Center Road to alleviate traffic that frequently is a headache to industrial companies in the area.

Hartman said about 8,500 vehicles travel the thoroughfare daily – 17 percent of the traffic is semis.

Sampson and others, including Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said local cooperation was a key to earmarking the road money.

“The clear and unified voice with which northeast Indiana spoke during this past session enabled us to act confidently and decisively to support the priorities identified by this region,” Long said in a statement.

“The collaboration between northeast Indiana business and government leaders ensures that we are setting the best policy possible, and at the end of the day, our economy will benefit,” he said.