Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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February 27, 2012

Tipton officials worry single U.S. 31 interchange is insufficient

Kokomo — The intent of the new U.S. 31 corridor is to get Indiana motorists from points north to points south, and vice versa, as quickly as possible.

But that convenience may come at a cost for residents of Tipton County.

Current plans call for the new U.S. 31 bypass around Kokomo to include just one interchange in Tipton County.

The Kokomo bypass which is expected to be complete in 2013 will veer east at 600 North in Tipton County, with business U.S. 31 following the current route.

When complete, the road will include 13 miles of asphalt through Tipton County. However, the lone Tipton County interchange on the interstate-quality U.S. 31 is currently planned at the intersection with Ind. 28.

Depending on how many overpasses the Indiana Department of Transportation plans to construct over U.S. 31 for Tipton County roads, the west side of the county could be cut off from the city of Tipton.

“There is one known interchange in Tipton County,” Tipton Mayor Don Havens said. “Any others are unknown.”

Havens said at some point Tipton County officials have to join with Hamilton County about an interchange at the Tipton-Hamilton county line.

City and county officials would like to see an interchange at Division Road, which carries a lot of industrial traffic west from the Northgate Industrial Park.

“We need to demonstrate the need,” Havens said.

With new comprehensive plans being developed for both the city and county, Havens said those plans are based on the need for an interchange at Division Road.

“Once our comprehensive plans are completed, we will engage the state about an interchange at Division Road,” he said.

If no interchange is constructed at Division Road, it will require traffic to divert south at the planned 560 West project and flow onto Ind. 28.

“There will be a lot of traffic on Ind. 28 at that intersection,” Havens said. “There will be the traffic from the Abound Solar building and our westside traffic at that point.”

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