The Washington Times-Herald

April 19, 2013

Buggy lane project under fire

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

ODON — Citizens and homeowners along CR 900E met again Wednesday to discuss plans to widen the Odon-Cannelburg road.

And much like the first meeting on the project in 2011, all of the comments were resoundingly negative.

The hearing at the Simon J. Graber Community Building, was for the second phase of the project that will build buggy lanes from CR 600N to CR 1250N.

Currently, the funding will end the project just north of CR 800N.

The first phase is set to begin construction in May from CR 450N to 550N.

The price tag for the first portion is $4.43 million.

The second portion, up to CR 1200N, will cost $20 million, according to project engineer Dominick Romano of Bernardin, Lochmueller and Associates, the engineering firm tasked with design and engineering of the project.

However, Romano said, there is only funding for construction up to CR 800N, but an INDOT grant awarded in July 2012 let the engineers plan for the road up to CR 1200N.

The plan calls for widening the Odon-Cannelburg Road from its current 10 feet in both lanes to 12 feet.

The road will be in concrete and on each side, there will be asphalt buggy lanes that measure 8 feet wide. A rumble strip measuring a foot long will separate the road from the buggy lane.

“The intent of the project is to greatly improve the safety of the road,” Romano said.

The road was measured for its current speed limit of 45 miles per hour, Romano said, which brought contention to some in the audience.

“If you go 45 miles an hour down that road, you’ll get run over,” Eugene Long said.

The speeds on the road have been a point of contention with the Amish, who have said the buggy lanes won’t do much but let people drive faster on the heavily-traveled road.

Also a major point of contention at the meeting were plans for the two curves on CR 900E, the first at CR 1050N and the second at CR 1100N. Romano said plans are to straighten the curves and make them safer.

Homeowners, like the Flynns, were against that idea.

“We’re against this and we don’t like the project whatsoever,” Greg Flynn, who lives on the curve at CR 1050N, said.

Flynn’s mother, Almeta Flynn, said the road will “ruin her two acres” that she was going to leave a portion of to her daughter.

“If you think they will go 45 on that road, they’re not,” she said about the idea.

“They don’t go that right now.”

Another homeowner, Karen Karnes, wondered if the right of way from the road was coming to her house. She lives on CR 1100N.

“How much yard am I going to have left?” Karnes said.

“I would really like to know because my son-in-law measured it, and if they take 50 feet, I might as well start me a fast food place and put the food right out my window.” Due to incorrect information, the right-of-way is 25 feet at her home.