The Indiana Department of Transportation has included 5-foot-wide sidewalks along U.S. 40 at the Interstate 70 interchange in its reconstruction plans.
Barry Cramer, an avid bicyclist, doesn’t think that’s enough, however; he advocated for wider multiuse lanes rather than the sidewalks during a Revive I-70 public hearing Oct. 4 at Ivy Tech Community College Richmond. Cramer was one of five Wayne County residents who took advantage of the public hearing to share their ideas with INDOT representatives.
Revive I-70 will reconstruct the interstate throughout Wayne County in three stages. The first stage, expected to begin construction during late 2024, stretches from the Ohio border to just past the U.S. 35 interchange. It includes expanding the interstate to three travel lanes in each direction and restructuring the U.S. 35 and U.S. 40 interchanges.
Cramer said Richmond’s master plan for bicycles and pedestrians was neither taken into account nor mentioned in INDOT’s nearly 700-page environmental report about the project. Other master plans, Cramer said, were mentioned in the document. That’s wrong, he said.
“INDOT needs to be part of the solution,” Cramer said.
Kent Carson said the proposed sidewalks on both sides of U.S. 40 at the interchange are a waste of money, especially with on and off ramps feeding into two proposed roundabouts. He said traffic on the roundabouts would resemble figure-8 races at Anderson Speedway and cause backups, while walking through the roundabouts would be dangerous for pedestrians.
Carson asked that INDOT offer bonuses to contractors completing the I-70 work early and withhold payments from contractors that run behind schedule.
Keith Webster of Fountain City also suggested performance bonuses. He requested more oversight of contractors working on the interstate to ensure they use the correct materials the project requires.
Neighbors Kenneth Stapleton and James Farrar asked for a large wall to separate the interstate from Elmhurst Drive homes and the road’s end where children play. Both said they pick up debris from accidents and other vehicle parts that fly from the interstate onto private property and the road. Stapleton held up debris he’d picked up from his driveway.
Farrar said he couldn’t live with himself if a child were injured and he hadn’t spoken up about the problem to INDOT.
“My conscience is clear,” he said. “I can sleep better.”
The public comments and INDOT’s responses will become part of the final environmental report. INDOT will continue to accept public comments through Oct. 19. People among the nearly 25 attendees Oct. 4 can fill out comment forms distributed at the event. Others can mail comments or questions to INDOT, visit INDOT4U.com or call 855-468-6848.
More information about the project, including the report that documents all steps of the interstate project, is available online at ReviveI70.com.
Copies of the preliminary report are also available for inspection at:
- Morrisson-Reeves Library, 80 N. Sixth St., Richmond.
- Richmond Municipal Building, 50 N. Fifth St., Richmond.
- Centerville Municipal Building, 204 E. Main St., Centerville.
- Cambridge City Building, 126 N. Foote St., Cambridge City.
- INDOT subdistrict, 1241 Indiana 1, Cambridge City.
Project updates are available by text or email and are posted on Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter. Sign up for texts or emails at ReviveI70.com.
A version of this article appeared in the October 11 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.