Warsaw Mayor and U.S. 30 Coalition President Joe Thallemer and other Kosciusko County government officials were in Indianapolis Wednesday to seek funds to get the US 30 project moving forward.
The project seeks to make improvements along U.S. 30 from the Ohio border to Valparaiso. As president of the coalition, Thallemer said he represents the entire project, not just the Kosciusko County section.
Thallemer said he and county commissioners Cary Groninger and Bob Conley had a luncheon with state representatives Curt Nisly and Dave Wolkins, high-ranking Indiana Department of Transportation officials and other legislative members along the roadway.
“We are seeking funding for a preliminary engineering study to kind of get this thing rolling,” said Thallemer. “The prevailing issue is the state wants to finish (Interstate) 69 between Indy and Martinsville and there’s a few more intersections to finish on U.S. 31. Those projects are probably going to take four to five years to get done.
“But the coalition wants to get an environmental impact study or a preliminary engineering study done on the entire route, or at least a portion of the route, to get the project started and get the project listed as a designated project (with INDOT).
“That way when the construction is done on those other two projects, we’ll be potentially ready for some construction on U.S. 30.”
Thallemer said they don’t want to wait to begin the studies, which could take three to four years. “We know we’ve got some environmental challenges here with wetlands and lakes, and U.S 30 diagonals through Warsaw, which adds some unusual geometry to the whole thing.”
INDOT will make the final decision on where the route will be, he said, “but they certainly want the community’s input.”
To get that input, several meetings are planned, including one this spring.
“We’re putting together some different plans for a possible freeway through or around Warsaw,” Thallemer said. “A route has not been chosen; we’re just looking at what would happen if it went north, south or through town.”
Thallemer said he has a sense of urgency for the project, as the issues facing motorists on the Warsaw part of the highway are a problem every day.
“The most important thing is the congestion and the accident rates we have right now; it’s a safety concern,” he said. “I related to both INDOT and the legislators that at least in Kosciusko County and the city of Warsaw, we need that long-term fix in the short term. We can’t wait 15 to 20 years for a freeway with the congestion we have right now.
“Our Kosciusko County group is advocating to get this thing rolling.”Visit the U.S. 30 Coalition webpage by clicking here.