Local News

Residents Oppose Widening Lafayette Center Road

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Funding has been approved to widen Lafayette Center Road and nearby residents are angry.

During the next three years, construction crews should to widen 3.7 miles of road from the existing two lanes, to a much larger four-lane road.  The road will include a middle turn-land and extended shoulders on both sides. According to the Journal Gazette, the new pavement will extend east from US. 24 to Fogwell Parkway, and include a new bridge over the existing railroad.

On Monday evening, Allen and Huntington counties held a meeting sponsored by the Indiana Department of Transportation to discuss the pros and cons of the project.  Local resident Greg Young spoke about a big problem for most home and landowners: He's lived on his property for 18 years and says he will most likely lose about 240 feet of property. Young says, “We're about ready to sell – we're seriously considering it.  We don't need five lanes through here.”

USI Consultants is the surveying firm in charge of overseeing the project design.  They say some residents could lose a lot more than 240 people of property. Vice Presidents of Business Development Philip D. Beer II said at Monday's meeting there could be eight or nine “complete property takes,” or in other words, an entire plot of land must be purchased. This means the residents would be forced to move elsewhere.

Despite massive opposition to the construction, some people say the new road will provide opportunities. Darrel Weigelt, pastor of Cornerstone Alliance Church said it will open the church up to more exposure and help with high traffic volume coming in and out of the parking lot.

The project will start bidding by December of next year with crews starting on the new bridges by 2016. Road construction isn't set to officially begin until 2017.

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