2014 Indiana Legislative Session Wraps Up

By BROOKE WELCH | bwelch@wfft.com

Published 03/20 2014 01:55PM

Updated 03/20 2014 02:08PM

The 2014 Indiana Legislative Session has wrapped up and Northeast Indiana made out big time when it comes to future projects.

WFFT's Brooke Welch spoke with Legislators who were visiting Indiana Tech and has more on a $30 million dollar project that's been years in the making.

Since the 1980's, having easier access from Roanoke to the interstate has been a conversation topic.  Now at a press conference, officials announced it will become a reality.

"It's the #1 transportation project for Northeast Indiana."

The 10 mile extension will start at 1-469 and go past General Motors and Vera Bradley plants, to Roanoke on US 24.  Senator David Long said this project was important enough to warrant a $30 million dollar price tag.

"This really completes that final portion of I-469, 24 and really the whole Hoosier heartland corridor, which goes from Fort Wayne to Lafayette, and continues from Fort Wayne to Toledo."

With over 500 semis a day unloading at General Motors, Huntington County Surveyor Jay Poe says they've wanted to do this project for years, but haven't had the funds.

"Well with all the extra truck traffic that's going through there, it's made it hard to handle that on just a county road."

Poe says they've done some preliminary studies, but that there is a lot more to be completed before they can begin construction.

"We haven't done land acquisition or started any of the plans for the the bridge over the railroad or the expansion of the bridge over the river so it's going to take a couple of years to do those kinds of things.  Construction will probably begin 3 years from now."

All of the construction crews will bring more business to the area.

"It's just a huge win for Northeast Indiana.  The $30 million dollars expended here, the businesses that do the trucking, the excavating, the paving work.  All those employees then spend that extra money in our Northeast Indiana businesses.  It's just tremendous."

Even though it will take awhile to complete, Poe believes it will help bring new business to the area.

"Fort Wayne has an industrial park that they're beginning right there next to Vera Bradley.  Oh my goodness, having a new roadway that connects to a business park...phenomenal.  It's where people want to build."

Other big wins for Northeast Indiana are the expansion of the Coliseum and also a vote being held in the next election for Allen County residents to decide if they want their County Commissioners to come from districts.

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