By JEFF SCHULTZ
The Indiana Department of
Transportation will put in eastbound and westbound left-hand turn lanes on
U.S. 20 and Waverly Road in Porter during the summer of 2017.
From now until Friday, Feb.
5, the general public has the chance to be heard on the road project. The
public input process kicked off Thursday with a public hearing at Porter
Town Hall which drew nearly a dozen citizens, mostly residents and business
owners in the area.
The audience was told by
the presenters that the construction will be done in such a way that it will
not cut off access to any business, nor will U.S. 20 be closed to traffic.
Access to local businesses
and driveways will be provided throughout construction, said Dan Delgado of
Lawson-Fisher Associates, the engineering firm INDOT has hired for the
There will be sections of
the road closed off as work progresses, Delgado said, but two lanes will be
open for east and west travel. There will, however, be short-term closures
on Waverly Rd.
And, INDOT will be
acquiring land, approximately .7 acres total, for the permanent right-of-way
“It’s a safety
project meant to reduce accidents,” Delgado said. Clark said also traffic
flow will be improved.
Initial plans for turn
lanes and the road widening were presented to the public in August. The
public hearing stage is a requirement of the National Environmental Policy
Act, said Rickie Clark of INDOT’s Office of Public Involvement, to complete
the environmental documentation which is needed before other work can
“That’s the stage
we’ve arrived at this evening,” said Clark. The document and project designs
will be completed by spring. This summer, property owners in the proposed
right-of-way acquisition will be approached to “negotiate” an offer for
compensation, he said.
Although the real estate
process hasn’t started yet, maps presented by INDOT show which properties
the expanded right-of-ways will cross. Those include Pat’s Liquors,
Westchester Animal Clinic, Pinkerton Oil and Fox Chase Development.
Some of the acquisition
will be permanent and some will be temporary until work is complete, said
INDOT project manager Maggie Whitten.
Drawings of the proposed
expansion show 5-foot to 6-foot widenings for the new turn lanes. The
traffic lanes will be 11-feet wide each and shoulders will be four feet.
Construction will consist
of milling and resurfacing existing pavement. Barrels will be used to mark
out the edge when the widening takes place.
The traffic signal will
be upgraded with new spans and catenaries and one pole will be replaced,
Delgado said. Existing horizontal and vertical traffic alignment on Waverly
Rd. will be retained.
Clark said projects
such as this are selected by INDOT based on data they receive about traffic
and accidents. Sometimes they come up if local governments or residents make
request for inspections, but the U.S. 20/Waverly Rd. is a project where data
suggested a need for improvements, Clark told the
INDOT ruled out possible
alternatives like a roundabout at the intersection as it would cause a
greater impact to the environment and require higher costs, Clark said.
A pedestrian trail with
signalized crossing will be implemented in the future but is not part of the
current project, Clark said.
Only one public comment
was given during the hearing before the meeting broke out into a more
informal session where audience members could talk with INDOT
Porter Assistant Police
Chief Todd Allen asked that the traffic light not have a flashing yellow
signal which before caused “numerous crashes in the past.”
Delgado said there will
not be a flashing yellow signal and the lights will instead signal a
protected left turn from U.S. 20 onto Waverly Rd.
In the breakout sessions,
Nick Tilden, whose family owns Pat’s Liquors, said the INDOT reps were able
to answer their concerns. He said he is glad to hear that someone from INDOT
will be onsite during the construction should a problem ever arise.
Additional comments may
be sent by Feb. 5 to Clark at email@example.com or mailed at INDOT Office
of Public Involvement, Attn: Ricki Clark, 100 North Senate Avenue, IGCN Room
N642, Indianapolis, IN 46204