County, Wawasee Schools Will Upgrade Kern Road

Wawasee Schools and Kosciusko County are working together to straighten out a road problem.
Spurred by plans for a nearby elementary, the school district and county highway department are cooperating on a plan to move the intersection of CR 1300N and Kern Road further to the west.
Kern Road currently approaches 1300 from the south at a diagonal direction and then becomes North Oak Street north of 1300.
When complete, Kern will curve north and meet 1300 at a 90-degree angle west of the existing intersection and will not continue north of the road. Conversely, North Oak will be a T-intersection when work is complete.
County Highway Superintendent Scott Tilden said he did not have a cost estimate for the project yet, but bids for the construction project will be sought soon and could be reviewed early next month by the county commissioners.
Tilden was given permission on Tuesday by the commissioners to seek bids from contractors on the project.
The school district is paying for engineering and the cost to acquire right of way property, Tilden told the commissioners.
The district is currently constructing a new elementary, which is set to open when the school year begins this fall. The school will be located along Kern Road.
The new $18 million elementary will replace the aging Syracuse Elementary located in town.
The road work is expected to be complete before school begins in the fall.
Wawasee Superintendent Dr. Tom Edington said they sought the road change because of an anticipated increase in school-related traffic.
While nobody called the existing intersection dangerous, representatives for the district and county said the “sight lines” and visibility of intersecting traffic is not the best.
Edington said they’ve enjoyed a good working relationship with the county highway department in the past, adding “I realize this is a grand request in the scheme of things.”
He said they used money from the school project to cover the school’s portion of the road costs to ensure “the road is as safe as possible.”
Commissioner Ron Truex said the project is an example of good cooperation between the school and county.