Governmental and economic development collaboration results in highway expansion
Northeast Indiana celebrated the completion of improvements to the County Road 900-Lafayette Center Road corridor with a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 1, 2017. The new, 4-lane road, which includes a bridge over the Norfolk-Southern Railroad, connects U.S. 24 at Roanoke, with I-469 and the General Motors Fort Wayne Assembly Plant. Leaders from regional governmental, economic development, employers, and citizen groups and individuals celebrated the long anticipated road.
The project officially links the U.S. 24 Hoosier Heartland Corridor (Fort Wayne to Lafayette, Indiana) with the U.S. 24 Fort to Port Corridor (Fort Wayne, Indiana to Toledo, Ohio). Economic development officials had identified the road as the number one infrastructure project for Northeast Indiana. Several speakers at the event remarked that truck and commuter traffic volumes along the corridor had dramatically surpassed the original design of the previous road. The former "at-grade" railroad crossing created significant issues for the major employers in the region and "snarled" traffic flow as semi-tractor trailer rigs waited for trains and those carrying liquid cargoes came to complete stops prior to crossing the tracks.
The $20 million construction cost was well below the anticipated $30 million approved by the Indiana General Assembly. Area road builders were present and recognized for the tremendous job they did to build the road in such a timely and cost-effective manner.
"This road is here because Northeast Indiana is a team," said Huntington County Commissioner Tom Wall in his comments at the event. "Huntington County thanks everyone who worked so hard for so long to make this become a reality," he added.
Indiana State Senate President Pro-Tem, David Long attended the event and remarked, "The collaborative efforts of Northeast Indiana are admired as a model by my colleagues at the Statehouse. That's (the collaboration) the only reason this road is here today."