Due to construction at Parker Street, the eastbound lane of U.S. 30 is backed up past Springhill Road. Photo by  Gary Nieter
Due to construction at Parker Street, the eastbound lane of U.S. 30 is backed up past Springhill Road. Photo by Gary Nieter
There’s road construction going on everywhere throughout the county, but improvement work at the U.S. 30 and Parker Street intersection has resulted in backed-up and one-lane traffic for a few days.

The Indiana Department of Transportation told Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer Thursday morning that INDOT hoped to have the eastbound U.S. 30 restrictions lifted by noon today.

INDOT is working its way east on U.S. 30 patching from Ind. 19 to Ind. 13, and may be in Warsaw in the next few weeks. The asphalt patching project will involve similar work to the concrete restoration project that took place on Ind. 15 in Warsaw.

The projects are expected to be completed by Thanksgiving, which is Nov. 28.

Regarding the work that INDOT is doing on Parker Street, INDOT told the city that if it can complete the median work at Parker Street today, it will then set up for construction on South Parker Street. The northbound Parker Street dedicated turn lane onto Dubois Drive will be blocked off. Drivers will still be able to turn onto Dubois Drive from the one open northbound lane.

INDOT scheduled 22 working days to complete the Parker Street project, on both sides of U.S. 30, though it allowed up to 30 days. The Parker Street project includes adding lanes, and work on the median.

Thallemer, who was at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new branch of Crossroads Bank Thursday morning overlooking U.S. 30, said, “Obviously, everyone’s rushing to get these projects done while the asphalt plants are open and before the cold weather sets in. We’ve just had a rash of construction start this week in the community.” He cited the work on the new traffic signals at the intersection of Buffalo and Center streets as an example of other projects being completed now.

An Aug. 12 press release from INDOT stated it would complete three projects on U.S. 30, with two of the projects occurring simultaneously. Each project would require lane closures and restrictions. However, it appears that INDOT’s schedule may be about two weeks behind.

The release stated there would be intersection improvements taking place at the Anchorage Road and U.S. intersection from Aug. 23 to Sept. 5. The intersection improvements for Parker and U.S. 30 were scheduled for Sept. 5 to Oct. 15; and asphalt patching on U.S. 30 between Ind. 19 and Ind. 13 in Kosciusko County was scheduled for Sept. 7 to Nov. 15. All schedules are tentative and weather-permitting, the INDOT release indicated.

Thallemer said the traffic issues being seen in Warsaw this week along U.S. 30 are a “perfect example” of why planning for a possible U.S. 30 freeway needs to be happening now.

“When you get any kind of hiccup on U.S. 30, this is what happens. And it’s the long-term problems that we need to address. A simple lane restriction here is causing chaos on U.S. 30. It takes forever to get from one end to another,” Thallemer said.

The city and county held a public meeting Sept. 18 at Lincoln Elementary School on the U.S. 30 freeway project. The meeting was to show the public different proposed routes for a possible future limited-access freeway.

The first route would go around the northeast part of the city and would reconnect at Ind. 15. The second route would go around the southern part of the city, with the third option using the current U.S. 30 route but with very limited access points.

INDOT would have final say on when and if the project goes forward and what route it would take. It wouldn’t happen for at least 10 years and would take years to be completed.

According to a study, 30,000 cars and 6,000 trucks travel on U.S. 30 daily, with INDOT projecting 38,000 cars and 11,780 trucks by 2035.