Andrea Howe

Andrea Howe

Editor, The Daily Clarion

A regional logistics study lists $436 million in improvements to U.S. 41 to relieve traffic congestion and create better truck traffic flow to move cargo as a top priority project for Southwest Indiana.

Specifically, the Conexus Indiana southwestern regional plan envisions designing and building “freeway-like access by taking out stop lights, improving intersections and creating overpasses from the Knox County line to Interstate 64.”

Efforts a few years ago to limit access to U.S. 41 in the Fort Branch area met stiff opposition from the community, and those access points remain in use today.

Traffic signals along U.S. 41 in Gibson County were all installed after traffic studies deemed the signals were warranted from a safety standpoint. Simply removing the stop lights to allow more efficient truck cargo traffic is a return to hazardous traffic conditions at those intersections. Overpasses would solve those issues. If the plan becomes reality, those overpasses will be crucial safety factors.

Another regional priority goal, according to the long-range plan, is design and construction of a $58.8 million intermodal facility west of U.S. 41, north of East Baseline Road in Vanderburgh County, or a similar facility to provide direct rail access.

Several years ago, Gibson County developed a study of potential intermodal facility sites. We hope the sites identified within Gibson County remain strong contenders for such a development.

Other local transportation needs identified as third tier priorities in the regional study include:

• Improving and widening County Road 1050 North, from Ind. 165 in southern Gibson County to Knowles Road and County Road 100 South from Ind. 165 to CR1075 West/Knowles Road, installing and repairing railroad ties from Fort Branch to a Poseyville industrial “mega-site” to create economic development. The cost is estimated at $7.6 million for the road work and to $3.5 million for the rail work.

• Adding a turn lane for truck traffic at Ind. 65 and 1st Street in Owensville to relieve the bottleneck of combined truck and passenger traffic, at a cost of about $600,000.

• Re-designing a portion of CR100 North from U.S. 41 to Old 41 near Princeton to relieve the traffic bottleneck, at a cost of about $2.1 million.

• Straightening and improving County Road 550 South from U.S. 41 to CR100 East, assuring efficient traffic flow around the industrial park south of Toyota, to U.S. 41. Estimated cost is $3.8 million.

• Redesigning County Road 100 North from U.S. 41 to CR500West to relieve truck traffic, at a cost of $13.9 million

• Widening County Road 100 West from CR300 South to CR150 South to allow better truck access and flow to the industrial park on the south side of Princeton, at an estimated cost of $6.3 million.

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