FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The City of Fort Wayne unveiled its preliminary plans for the Goshen Road Corridor Improvement Plan, which ultimately looks to update an area of the city that sees heavy usage.
During an informational meeting at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church Thursday evening, the city showed a large conceptual layout of the project and provided markers so participants could write input on the map about specific concerns.
The project runs from the corner of Goshen Road and Cambridge Boulevard to the intersection of Goshen Road and Coliseum Boulevard.
“This section of town, and this section of road was built for an urban highway, there is no curb and minimal draining besides open swales,” said City Engineer Patrick Zaharako. “We’ll be converting it to a city section, so it’ll have all the city amenities such as curbs, sidewalks, lighting, and improved pedestrian infrastructure for anyone to use.”
Outside of usage concerns, atop the city’s list of worries is safety.
“This section of roadway over the last, almost 5 years from 2017 to 2022, has had about 160 accidents, and of that, we know the Harris, Butler Goshen intersection area is one of our bigger crash areas in the city,” Zaharako said.
Zaharako told WANE 15 that the project will be broken up into two distinct phases due to the length of the road and only being able to allocate so much money for the project each year.
Phase 1, Cambridge Boulevard to the Underpass
“From Cambridge Boulevard up to the railroad underpass will be a new three-lane section,” Zaharako said. “We will have both a north-south travel lane and a center lane.”
Zaharako also said that this section will have curbs, sidewalks, storm drains, lighting and landscaping.
This section of the project runs across an area that already has a small portion of sidewalk, however, it ends at the bridge on Goshen Avenue that runs over an offshoot of Spy Run Creek.
Arguably this is the most important section of the project for business owners in Gateway Plaza as it runs right up to their parking lot.
On the other end of this section, the city has different plans for the railroad underpass.
“Underneath the railroad, this will go to just a single lane and there will be a sidewalk on one side, that all there is room to build underneath the railroad,” Zaharako said.
When Zaharako gave a guess he said it was still “2-3 years out.”
“We have to get through all the design, complete the land acquisition, relocate any utilities that have to be relocated, bid the project, and then start construction,” Zaharako said.
Another piece of the project planned during Phase 1 includes a roundabout at the intersection of Goshen Road and where Butler Road turns into Harris Road.
Phase 2, Independence Drive to Coliseum Boulevard
The remainder of the project sits north of Independence Drive, and it will be built up to better handle more traffic.
“There will be a combination of a 4-lane section with a center turn lane, a southbound lane, a northbound lane, and an additional north or turn lane,” Zaharako said. “It’s a heavier truck trafficked area and we are taking that into account.”
This section of the project also serves a very different clientele of businesses.
While the south end of the project touches bars like Break & Run and a game store, Infinite TCG, the northern side sees more industrial businesses.
Applied Industrial Technologies, UPS, a post office, and several stores dealing with auto parts are packed into the impacted area.
Another factor in the project is the city’s parks department, which will be pushing forward a 22 million-dollar plan to upgrade Franke Park, just west of Goshen Road.
Part of their Franke Park Renaissance Project is a new entrance to the city’s largest park off Goshen Road.
“We are working together with parks to jive the two projects, the parks project will occur ahead of ours, and then our project will tie into theirs,” Zaharako said. “It will make that an improved area for both Goshen and the park entrance.”
WANE 15 reached out to the parks department for a statement and received one from Alec Johnson, Deputy Director of Planning and Development for Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation.
In the statement, the department makes it clear that the first stretch of road covered in phase one of the Goshen Road Corridor Improvement Project will be built by the Parks and Recreation Department.
“Parks could certainly have completed the new entrance into the park off of Goshen without the road corridor improvements, but it will be nice to have the Goshen Road improvements to tie into. We will be building the first short stretch of Goshen Road improvements as part of our project,” Johnson said via email.
Last week, Parks and Recreation Director Steve McDaniel commented on construction time for the Franke Park Renaissance Project, and from his indication, it seems that means the first part of Goshen Road construction will happen much sooner than the rest.
“I think we’re looking at, if everything goes right, 14 months. Fourteen to 16 months for construction,” McDaniel said. “Hopefully starting later this spring, and going through fall of next year.”