PRINCETON — A proposed project that would ease traffic congestion on the east side of the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana plant may be larger than originally anticipated.

Gibson County Redevelopment Commission advisory member Mark Iunghuhn Monday asked for more information about plans for expanded parking and egress from the plant onto County Road 100.

Earlier this summer, the commission unanimously approved use of $750,000 in Patoka-Union Twp. TIF District revenue for engineering and design of projects to solve traffic congestion around the east side of the Toyota plant.

At that time, Mike Wingo, senior maintenance manager at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, and Scott Wilkinson, an engineer with Beam Longest and Neff, detailed the scope of the project that would accommodate traffic out of the east side of the facility that produces the new Sienna minivan.

The east lot has only one entrance/exit, and traffic is backing up in both directions onto County Road 100 and onto Maple Tree Drive, where team members can sometimes be stuck in traffic for about 30 minutes before they can park.

About 1,300 vehicles park in the east lot now, and earlier estimates for the project would add about 325 spaces.

At Monday night’s redevelopment board meeting, Gibson County Commissioner Steve Bottoms reported the proposed project is still in the design phase, and Iunghuhn asked about whether the project is expanding in size and cost.

Bottoms engineers are working on a design that could include more parking spaces and possibly traffic signals on the county road.

Iunghuhn said he read emails from engineers discussing growth of the full project from $5.8 million to $8.2 million, and that anticipated engineering costs were estimated at more than $1 million. He asked whether Toyota would share in the cost or whether the full project would be included in a request for TIF funding.

Bottoms said the overall project will likely double the parking space from the original proposal and include a second egress from the lot. He said some of the work could involve the county road, but once the design is completed, it will come to commissioners. “It’s being well thought-out,” he said.

Iunghuhn, who serves as a non-voting member of the commission as a member of the North Gibson school board, said he’s looking at the scope and cost of the project out of concern as to whether it could affect the amount of assessed valuation that is “captured” in the TIF district for infrastructure project funding, and how it might affect taxing units such as the school district.

Bottoms said he didn’t believe the project would affect the school district’s tax revenue, and reiterated that the numbers are preliminary until the design work is complete.

Earlier in the meeting, commission members learned an earlier Toyota parking lot project is complete, coming in about $670,000 less than the projected cost of $6.5 million.

Email Andrea Howe at andrea@pdclarion.com

— Email Andrea Howe at andrea@pdclarion.com

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