County signs off on US 24 revamp study

November 3rd, 2012

News Coverage:

Published: November 3, 2012 3:00 a.m.

County signs off on US 24 revamp study

Vivian Side | The Journal Gazette

FORT WAYNE – Two counties will come together in vetting the feasibility of converting a stretch of road from Interstate 69 to Roanoke into a thoroughfare for motorists on U.S. 24.

The Allen County commissioners agreed Friday to pay half of the $100,000 engineering fee, and Huntington County has agreed to pay the other half.

Jay Poe, chairman of the Infrastructure Task Force for the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana, said the group has been talking about the project for nearly two years, and he was pleased with the joint effort to get the project off the ground.

The project would enhance infrastructure along four miles between I-69 at the General Motors cloverleaf and U.S. 24 at Roanoke in eastern Huntington County. The road is known as Vine Street or East County Road 900 North in Huntington County and Lafayette Center Road in Allen County.

Although motorists traveling from the area near GM to Huntington County are instructed to drive 13 miles north on I-69 to U.S. 24, many of them take the county road instead, Poe said.

Trains traveling the nearby Norfolk Southern line often have vehicle traffic backed up on the county road, Poe said. As part of the study, he wants to investigate the possibility of an overpass to circumvent delays from the train traffic.

Allen County owns more than 100 acres, commonly referred to as the Lafayette Corridor, just south of the GM plant, near Vera Bradley and One Resource Group. Those development-ready properties would become even more valuable with the extension, Peters said.

The next step is to solicit bids for the study, Peters said.