Public Input Sought on U.S. 30 Freeway Proposal (6/15)

posted Jun 15, 2017, 8:41 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library
Posted on June 15, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI 

Plans are in the works at the state level to turn U.S. 30 into freeway within the next decade. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver says a public meeting is scheduled Wednesday, June 28 at 5 p.m. in the Oregon-Davis Junior-Senior High School Cafeteria. Consultants and members of the seven-county coalition that runs from Porter to Allen Counties will be on hand to discuss the project. Weaver says it’s critical to Starke County’s future.

“Quite frankly, without upgrading U.S. 30 to a freeway, the chance of this community, this county community, succeeding, it is not good,” he told the Knox City Council. “If you look at our prospects, we did submit a lot of them, they’re looking at between five and 15 miles of an interstate.”

Weaver says there’s already more truck traffic on U.S. 30 than there is on parts of I-65 and I-69. That’s expected to triple in the next several years as more trucks avoid the toll road. There’s also a push to make U.S. 30 a major thoroughfare through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. Weaver says that effort has the support of the federal government.

He adds Starke County residents have quite a bit of input when it comes to how the upgraded road will be designed.

“The farmers do not want to see U.S. 30 leave its present road bed and go someplace else, because it disturbs the fields, it cuts off at angles, it makes it inconvenient. So we can say we want it to be redone in its present location, which INDOT would like because it’s cheaper.”

Weaver says a group of local stakeholders is also being assembled to help with project development.  It will include farmers, fire department members, representatives of the Oregon-Davis schools, emergency management officials and others.

There’s not been a determination made yet as to how many exits there will be in Starke County. He says that will depend on needs identified by the stakeholders group.