Granger residents voice concerns about Gumwood expansion

By: Brandon Lewis Email
By: Brandon Lewis Email

Nearly 200 Granger residents packed into Prairie Vista Elementary school to voice concerns and support for $14 million plans to expand Gumwood Rd.

Many residents, like Rhonda Polite, must sell the county some of their land to expand the road.

"I do see a need to widen the road, but my misgivings about it is it is a residential area here and I hate to see the traffic increase even more and I think with better roads we will see more of an increase," said Polite.

Gumwood is lined with pink and green stakes from the Mishawaka city limits to the Michigan state line, indicating future sidewalks and lanes of traffic.

Plans call for Gumwood to become a five lane road from the city limits to Branchwood Lane. It will then continue as a three lane road from Branchwood to Adams Road, where it will narrow into two lanes.

Engineers are also planning to turn Gumwood and Brick Rd and Brick Rd and Adams into roundabouts.

In total, about 2.1 miles of road will be impacted.

At the meeting, residents said they were concerned about more people using Gumwood, instead of Fir or other roads in the area because of the improvements.

"The project is definitely necessary, we have a lot of congestion and traffic delays at the intersections, so this project will help increase traffic flow," said Jessica Clark, an engineer with St. Joseph County's Department of Public Works.

Experts at the meeting estimate drivers spend about 80 seconds during rush hour at the stop sign at Gumwood and Brick Rd.

The county said Wednesday one person will have to move out of their home as part of the project. They are obligated to at least pay market value for the home.

It will also pay for some other costs, such as fence relocation and installing trees.

The construction is being paid for by INDOT's Major Moves project and money from the gasoline tax.

Residents can submit comments on the construction project until June 24th by downloading the form above, or by mailing comments to the Department of Public Works.

Construction on phase one, which begins with the Gumwood and Brick roundabout and the expansion from the Mishawaka city limits to Brick will begin in the Spring of 2011 and should end by the Fall of 2011 or Spring of 2012.

Once completed, phase two will begin from Brick Rd to the Michigan State Line and should be completed by the Fall of 2012 or Spring of 2013.

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