By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw
COLUMBIA CITY — The decision-making process in determining the long-term plan for US 30 is coming more into focus.
Consultants working for the state on the Propel US 30 study – the first of several studies – provided new insights Tuesday on traffic patterns and public concerns during a meeting at Indian Springs Middle School in Columbia City.
Tuesday’s meeting looked at the stretch of highway from the Ohio state line to Marshall County.
Officials have received comments from more than 900 people through a series of methods. As expected, the top issue is safety, mainly because of clusters of intersections in Warsaw and Columbia City with larger-than-normal crash rates.
Ultimately, the state is looking at whether to convert US 30 to a limited-access highway – a plan that could take decades to complete.
Shane Peck, with WSP, a consulting firm, said they will unveil a “universal” list of options for US 30 this fall and offer a narrowed list of options in the spring.
We’ll look into those going into the final phase in November of next year, which would be the final recommendations of the study,” Peck said.
Tuesday’s meeting was a chance for the public to browse large maps of the highway and offer more input.
The newest data shows the most common type of serious crashes are rear-end accidents along the highway.
That’s one type of traffic accident that is hard to avoid if you’re stopped in traffic, says traffic engineer Mike McNeill who is involved in the traffic study.
“You really can’t do much to avoid a rear-end accident so it’s on us to get involved and find ways to make improvements, McNeill said.
Officials cautioned that even though options for US 30 could be narrowed by next year, there will be another study after that.
Officials continue to seek input from the public. A good starting point for that is to check out the website, propelus30 com.