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On the roads, again

The way is nearly paved for Harrison County to adopt a new long-range transportation plan.
Next Thursday evening, the Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission will accept public comments about the plan that was finalized last month by Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates Inc. The Evansville firm, hired last year by the county, worked with the Harrison County Board of Commissioners and county engineer Darin Duncan to develop the plan that, when put on paper, became a document almost one inch thick. Two open meetings were also held to gain insight from the public.
The plan commission is expected to give the plan a favorable recommendation for its adoption as part of the county’s Comprehensive Plan. Then the transportation plan has to be approved by the county commissioners.
The new plan will supercede the outdated one that’s now part of the Harrison County Comprehensive Plan approved by the county commissioners in 1996.
One reason for adopting a transportation plan is so the county can be eligible for assistance.
To apply for federal and state funding, the county has to have a transportation plan, said Eric Wise, the county planner.
Construction and engineering/inspection costs could be funded by as much as 80 percent, according to information in the proposed plan.
Wise said the proposed transportation plan “deals primarily with existing roadways”: classifying the roads; identifying transportation problems, such as crashes and traffic flow, and how the roads mesh with existing and future land use.
Some of the major projects that have been studied in the past or are now being studied for which funding could become available include a new I-64 interchange, possibly at S.R. 337; extension of the Crandall-Lanesville Road from I-64 to S.R. 64, an east-west road in the southern part of Harrison County, and the Corydon-New Middletown Road-Elizabeth Road from S.R. 62 to Elizabeth.
These types of projects involve roads that have been classified as “major collector” roads.
The proposed plan also has identified projects that would improve the safety of existing roadway facilities; these are roads generally classified lower than a major collector. Ineligible for federal funding, these improvements would be paid for with local money, although some money might be available from the Indiana Dept. of Transportation’s Hazard Elimination Fund.
The push for a transportation plan began in earnest during the year-long study of the Lanesville interchange at Interstate 64. The introduction to the plan says, “Upon completion of the Transportation Plan and the Functional Classification Map update, Road Construction Regulations will be developed, the Subdivision Ordinance will be updated, the Comprehensive Plan will be updated and a Thoroughfare Plan will be developed.”
Wise stressed that the plan is “just lines on a map” at this point. “It provides typical road sections and shows things such as rights-of-way for different levels of traffic,” he said, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that anything will change from the way it is. Developers will have to include the changes and any requirements adopted in the transportation plan when they plan subdivisions or subdivide property, Wise said.
A copy of the proposed Long Range Transportation Plan for the county is available for the public to examine in the planning and zoning office, as well as the county engineer’s office. Wise said Friday afternoon that thus far no one had been to the planning and zoning to see the plan.
A representative from Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates will be at the April 3 meeting to answer any questions. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room of the Harrison County Court House.