LAKE TOWNSHIP, Ind. (WANE) –Residents in a rural community just west of the city of Fort Wayne want the Indiana Department of Transportation to look at the long-term needs of the area as it studies ways to improve traffic and safety along U.S. 30.
In June, it was announced that changes could be coming to five intersections along U.S. 30 in Allen County. The intersections under considerations are Kroemer Road, Flaugh Road, O’Day Road, Stahlhut Road and Felger/Leesburg Roads.
According to INDOT, the goal is to reduce congestion and increase safety as the department expects travel to essentially double on U.S. 30 over the next 20 years.
However, for Douglas Schoelles, the Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church Lake Township, he is worried the primary focus of their changes is to accommodate the Amazon Warehouse.
“As we look at their proposals, they seem to be short sighted and only focused on Amazon. Instead of focusing on what is needed for the entire area, the region of Lake Township,” Pastor Schoelles said.
“We could be considering an interchange for that area, but the thing is with this project, nothing is set in stone,” said Hunter Petroviak, a spokesman with INDOT. “It’s very fluid, we continue to look at all options.”
Petroviak added that the main reason for the improvements to US 30 is to improve safety.
According to traffic data collected by INDOT in 2019. over 27,500 people travel that stretch of U.S. 30 each day. That number is expected to increase to almost 40,000 by 2043. This increase in traffic on the road leaves the potential for fatal crashes and other traffic problems to increase with it.
A community meeting will be held Wednesday at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Local politicians and representatives from state agencies have been invited to explain how they plan to address the various concerns being raised by the public.
According to Pastor Schoelles, the township is asking INDOT do a full complete environmental impact study. The top concerns are: issues of land, water, emergency services, traffic load, traffic safety and protecting.
“There are some places where we disagree with them about Flaugh Road, we think other interchanges will be better utilized both for Amazon and the citizens and tax payers,” said Pastor Scholles. “One of the issues that we have is, agriculture equipment traffic. We have farmers who farm on both sides of U.S. 30, how are they going to get their equipment across? As you can see, that tractor takes up the entire roadway. Is that even on their radar?”
“With a project of this magnitude and any project that we do, we value the feedback from people who are going to be impacted by what we potentially do or don’t do.” Petroviak said. “We really do take every comment and concern into consideration when we are putting the plans together. We have a formal process for submitting comments, that way everyone gets a response.
INDOT was invited to the meeting, but Petroviak said that INDOT graciously declined because their regular processes already includes public involvement. He added that INDOT encourages these type of meetings because it gives them the opportunity to hear public input.
The agency is planning another public hearing, but a date has not been selected.
If you want to give your input to INDOT, click here.