Improving traffic safety. That is the goal of the Indiana Department of Transportation as they eye changes to a pair of Knox County intersections.
Tuesday night, they presented those proposed changes to a room full of area residents in Oaktown. INDOT’s proposal would essentially see the often problematic intersections at U.S. 41 and Freelandville Road and U.S. 41 and Old 41 removed. That removal would also see a pair of median U turns take root north and south of the intersections. A median U turn, or Michigan left as it is more commonly known, would see drivers hoping to head north first turn south, then cross over into a left turn lane, before making a U-turn into their desired direction. Motorists hoping to head south would do the opposite. Jason Tiller, Communications Director for INDOT Southwest, says the purpose behind the proposed change is to make the roadway safer.
Tiller says studies such as the one at the 41 intersections take months, and sometimes even years. Regardless, all of that hard work was met with opposition by the public in attendance. Austin McKinley is a resident of Oaktown, and he was quick to point out the common theme of many responses from those at the meeting
McKinley was just one of many who spoke out against the proposed plans Tuesday night. In fact, he is one of a handful of people who hope to get a petition started *against* the plan, which many believe will make the stretch of 41 more dangerous, despite INDOT research saying otherwise.
And while many residents believe the plans are set in stone, Tiller says they do value the opinion of the public, and will take the concerns they heard into consideration before making the project final.
Once final plans are worked out, there will likely be another public meeting held. INDOT hopes to begin work on the stretch of roadway in the Spring of 2019.