Wells gets $6 million to rework Hoosier Highway

A project that calls for rerouting Hoosier Highway in order to connect it to Adams Street while closing three railroad crossings is another step closer to fruition as the county has received $6 million from the state for the work.

In August, the county committed $1.3 million of local funding for the project. On Thursday, the Indiana Department of Transportation announced 12 communities or counties received more than $121 million total “for rail crossing safety improvements” around the state.

County Engineer Nate Rumschlag said after the announcement that Wells has turned a long shot into a reality, noting that it’s a large award for the county to receive and those don’t come around often — although he is hoping to make it more frequent.

While it is the smallest award of the dozen announced, it’s not by much, Rumschlag noted. He said it was his intent to make the project easier and cheaper than others in order to get selected.

Right now the project is slated for fiscal year 2022. The 80-20 matching grant provides that local governments fund their share for land acquisition and construction as “INDOT will fund and manage design and environmental work, as well as provide project management through design delivery, contract letting, construction and inspection,” according to a release.

As the roadway is constructed west of the existing road, the project calls for the railroad crossings on 250S, just south of 250S, and 300S to be closed and cul-de-sacs be installed.

Local Trax, according to a release, was launched earlier this year “to competitively pursue high-priority railroad grade separations, crossing closures and other safety enhancements at railroad intersection with local roads.”

The exact location for connection on the existing Hoosier Highway route is to be decided, Rumschlag said, as they begin conversations with property owners in the right of way acquisition process.

He acknowledged there would be a lot of questions going forward but there is time to figure out the answers.

Story by Jessica Bricker, Courtesy of the News-Banner

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