Wednesday Aug. 14, 2013
There are trucks, razed right-of-way, construction barriers and more on U.S. 20 east of Elkhart.
The upgrade of the roadway there has begun in earnest. Be prepared.
For now — as of Tuesday, anyway, when I traveled the roadway — the road narrows only in one spot, a one-half mile section just west of S.R. 15 (look at the pic above). Autos travel on the northern half of the roadway, including what had been the shoulder, while the southern portion is partitioned off with a concrete barrier to accommodate work.
But there are signs of activity all along the portion to be widened, from just east of C.R. 17 heading further east to S.R. 15:
- Orange warning signs.
- Sections of cleared, de-treed right-of-way off U.S. 20 on either side, where the wider roadway will fit.
- Heavy trucks and equipment at scattered spots.
Per the plans, U.S. 20 is to be widened from two lanes (one lane in each direction) to five lanes (two travel lanes each way plus a center turn lane):
The aim is to address growing congestion on the busy connector between Elkhart and Middlebury and improve safety. Work, overseen by the Indiana Department of Transportation, was to have started this month (as it has) and the work is to be done by fall 2014.
Long term, more could be in the offing. Some boosters hope for the widening of U.S. 20 further east all the way to Middlebury. It came up at a meeting Tuesday of Elkhart County and INDOT officials (look here).
Here are a pair of archival stories on the U.S. 20 project:
- “The price of progress is steep for some U.S. 20 homeowners”
- “U.S. 20 expansion project east of Elkhart could start in August”
Tim Vandenack is a reporter at the Elkhart Truth newspaper in Elkhart, Ind., www.etruth.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-296-5884. Visit him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack.