Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

March 29, 2013

Editorial - March 29, 2013: Better safety with bypass

The issue: U.S. 31 travel safety.

Our view: The new U.S. 31 bypass, slated to open in November, might just be the catalyst of a new wave of growth in Howard County, as well as safer roadways.

 

As construction of a new U.S. 31 bypass east of Kokomo speeds toward completion this November, there are likely many area residents who still question the need for the project.

Some Indiana House Democrats might tell you leasing the Indiana Toll Road was a worse one. Not a single one voted for the $3.8 billion lease that was approved six years ago.

The former U.S. 31 Coalition disagreed with those Democrats. The group of residents and officers from nine cities, six counties and more than 20 companies along the U.S. 31 corridor said upgrading the current highway to a freeway would add jobs, improve safety and enhance drive times.

Without any improvements, it said speed along the length of the route would drop to an average of 36.1 mph. At that rate, traffic safety would suffer.

It was that issue — safety — that first caught the attention of the Indiana Department of Transportation. An INDOT study at the time found the fatal crash rate in Howard County along U.S. 31 was more than twice the state average between U.S. 35 and Tipton County Road 600 North. There was at least one fatal crash along that portion of U.S. 31 each year during the six-year study period.

The highway’s intersection at Markland Avenue, Lincoln Road and Boulevard annually make Kokomo’s most-dangerous-intersections list. And, as we reported Thursday, they were Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in traffic accidents from 2010 to 2012.

In fact, nine of the 11 most dangerous intersections in the city are located on U.S. 31, statistics show.

What does the future hold for the U.S. 31 corridor? According to the coalition and INDOT:

• Expansion and attraction of businesses, and changes in tourist activity, will produce an economic benefit of $1.3 billion over 30 years.

• Generation of $5.3 billion in savings from reduced travel times.

• Creation of 5,010 jobs.

• And most importantly, prevention of 2,600 accidents and 12 fatalities each year.

Traffic accidents in Kokomo fell 4 percent from 2011 to 2012, and 3.4 percent over the last five years, we reported Thursday. City traffic manager Dan Chaplin sees that trend only accelerating in the coming years.

“Preliminary studies show an 8 to 14 percent reduction on U.S. 31 traffic” with the opening of the new bypass, Chaplin said.

And with a reduction in through-traffic, Kokomo hopefully will realize a corresponding drop in accidents and fatalities at the city’s intersections with U.S. 31.

A new Kokomo bypass and the toll road lease were good ideas. They might just be the catalysts of a new wave of growth in Howard County, as well as safer roadways.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • The progress we're making Every Howard County school district published an annual report in Tuesday's edition of the Kokomo Tribune. They're required by the Indiana Department of Education, and they're worth a read. The reports assembled the most recent data available on stud

    April 23, 2014

  • ROB BURGESS: You've gotta keep 'em separated In my career as a journalist I have served my time reporting on city council, county supervisor and state regulatory meetings, to name just a few. Whatever else they might have been, they weren't holy places. In the many, many hours I spent there I n

    April 23, 2014

  • ANDREA NEAL: A committee of 10 picked Ind. capital Editor's note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. Anyone who's ever served on a committee can relate to the old laugh line: A committee is a group of people who keep minutes a

    April 23, 2014

  • LETTERS: Correct mistakes May 6; RNC & pals Voting mistakes can be corrected May 6 For the last several months, it seems that I keep hearing one recurring conversation. People cannot believe the arrogance being shown by some of our elected officials towards the people of Tipton County. The sam

    April 23, 2014

  • Take a stand this election Howard County Clerk Kim Wilson's office always is busy this time of year -- but more so before an election. Absentee voting for the May 6 primary election began April 8. We, too, expect more activity. We soon will receive an avalanche of candidate en

    April 22, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Judge in gay marriage decision is no activist When U.S. District Judge Richard Young recently ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage, opponents of same-sex unions called him an activist judge who was unilaterally trampling the law. The label didn't

    April 22, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Turner ethics case tests bounds of 'citizen legislature' When a legislative ethics panel meets this week to review the case of House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner, members could have trouble finding clear-cut answers, in large part because of the Indiana General Assembly's status as a "citizen legislature."

    April 22, 2014

  • April 22, 2014: Letters to the editor Tipton incorporated earlier than known? A Nickel Plate Trail sign was recently put up in the northwest corner of the Tipton County Courthouse lawn. The center circle wording states the town of Tipton was founded in 1833, which is eleven years before

    April 22, 2014

  • Cleaning up Indiana could be as easy as a bottle deposit Scan the roadside on a drive through the Wabash Valley, and you might spot an empty pop bottle or two. Or two dozen. Or 200. Drink bottles have become our litter du jour. They compose an estimated 40 to 60 percent of all litter, according to the Mich

    April 21, 2014

  • Doctors Brown and Bucshon become seekers Seated across the table from me at Cafe Patachou were Drs. Tim Brown and Larry Bucshon. Dr. Bucshon was a heart surgeon from Newburgh. Dr. Brown is an emergency room physician from Crawfordsville. What made this breakfast meeting extraordinary is tha

    April 21, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll