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
  • Road must be made safer Eight months ago, the Indiana Department of Transportation opened the new U.S. 31 bypass east of Kokomo. Joining Mayor Greg Goodnight was Gov. Mike Pence. Even the Kokomo High School marching band performed at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was the

    July 24, 2014

  • SEN. JIM BUCK: New laws offer help for kids Families with children who have special needs often face difficulties finding the best care or treatment for their specific circumstance. During the 2014 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed several initiatives to assist these fam

    July 24, 2014

  • LETTERS: Christians must stand with Israel 'As Christians we must stand with life' The present conflict in Israel is with Hamas, recognized even in Egypt as a terrorist organization. Recently Hamas formed a unity government with the Palestinian Authority in Gaza. They're now the government in

    July 24, 2014

  • BILL STANCZYKIEWICZ: Youth sports leagues are on troubling decline An important youth development activity is looking to end a recent losing streak. Participation in organized youth sports leagues for baseball, football, basketball and soccer declined by 4 percent between 2008-2012, according to a report in the Wall

    July 24, 2014

  • Keep eye out for kids

    With most local schools welcoming students in a couple of weeks — and Kokomo schools beginning class Aug. 5 (yes, a week from this coming Tuesday) — it’s important for motorists to think about safe driving as children travel to and from school.Law en

    July 23, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 23, 2014

  • LETTERS: Let's hope 7th Circuit sides with couples Let’s hope 7th Circuit sides with couplesIf you blinked over the past month, you probably missed some news about marriage equality in Indiana.First, a federal court ruled that the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples was unconstitutional, whi

    July 23, 2014

  • CECIL BOHANON: Spend down surplus? Been there, done that Back in 1998, the state of Indiana had more than $1.3 billion in surplus funds in its general account. This was about 57 days of state spending. The state had total surplus funds of more than $2 billion that was over 24 percent of its annual operatin

    July 23, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Bush? Clinton? Next, please

    Here comes a sentence I don’t usually find myself typing: I agree with Barbara Bush on something. Jan. 20, C-SPAN aired her installment in the series “First Ladies: Influence and Image,” which was filmed at Bush’s Houston home. “Do you think there is room for another Bush in The White House?” asked host Peter Slen. “This is a great American country, a great country, and if we can’t find more than two or three families to run for high office, that’s silly, because there are great governors and great eligible people to run,” said Bush. “I think Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes; there are just more families than that.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • State aims at outbreaks More than 200 Western School Corp. students were vaccinated for chickenpox after an outbreak in March 2012.The virus was confirmed to have infected five fifth-graders, the Howard County Health Department reported. It acted quickly to prevent the infe

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
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