New road ‘means jobs’

April 22nd, 2016

News Coverage:

April 22, 2016

New road 'means jobs'

Frank Gray | The Journal Gazette

Local and state officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the widening of Lafayette Center Road and Huntington County Road 900 North between the General Motors truck plant and U.S. 24 in Roanoke.

The road, which is currently two lanes with a 35 mph speed limit, will be widened to four lanes with a center turn lane, paved shoulders, a new grade-separated railroad crossing so trains won’t block traffic, widening of two bridges and improvements to the intersection of U.S. 24 and 900 North.

The 3.7-mile project will cost $30 million and is expected to be complete in August 2018. 

The project will use money set aside by the General Assembly for road improvements.

State Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said officials have been talking about improving the road since the 1980s, when the General Motors plant was built. It just made sense, he said, but the project kept getting put on the back burner.

For the past seven years, officials from Allen and Huntington counties, the state and Indiana Department of Transportation have been working to get the project finally approved. Though the ceremonial groundbreaking was Thursday, crews have already removed trees, homes and other buildings lining the road.

Gov. Mike Pence said that roads mean jobs. “If you have the right infrastructure, it means jobs and opportunities for Hoosiers.”

He said the ceremony was about the future, and that it would support commerce and encourage investment.

Long credited Pence with promising to provide money for the project and keeping his word.

The improvements will encourage further development along the road and greatly improve travel efficiency. Officials said that the way the road is now, trains often block traffic, creating long lines of stopped traffic and delaying suppliers to the GM’s just-in-time inventory, sometimes causing the plant to shut down production lines.