Traffic nightmare at Grape & Douglas Roads

Attention commuters, there's a major travel tie-up to avoid during the weeks ahead.

On Monday, construction crews restricted traffic to one lane in each direction at the intersection of Grape and Douglas Roads in Mishawaka. The project is a tedious one as NIPSCO looks to move a major gas line sitting directly underneath the center of the roadway.

The line had been installed years ago, prior to the boost in commercial developments across northern Mishawaka and Granger. In fact until now, should a gas rupture or leak have occurred in the area, NIPSCO would have had to shut down the entire intersection for weeks to remedy the problem. Company officials say this project should prevent a headache like that from ever occurring.

“The relocation will allow greater accessibility for future maintenance and repair work,” NIPSCO spokeswoman Angie Nelson said.

Because of the lane restrictions, drivers will not be allowed to turn left in any direction, something NewsCenter 16 observed dozens of motorists blatantly ignore.

“It’s just selfish, holding up traffic like that. I’ve had to wait through three green lights now because of people making illegal left-hand turns,” Amanda Bondus said while waiting in the warm summer heat.

Capt. Tim Spencer with the Mishawaka Police Department’s traffic division says while plans have not been finalized, it is likely officers will setup enforcement stings, ticketing those who make illegal left turns.

“This has the potential to be the most problematic construction project across the city. But we generally give drivers a day or two of leniency before issuing tickets,” Capt. Spencer said.

According to NIPSCO, crews will break ground Tuesday at 6 a.m. and put in ten to 12 hour days, seven days a week to meet their July 4 deadline.

"It adds to the chaos because it's not even rush hour yet. You know people are still at work right now and look how congested it is,” driver Vincent Foster said.

The Mishawaka Police Departments says its best advice is to avoid Grape and Douglas at all costs, if at all possible.

"On a normal day I try to avoid Grape Road because it takes forever and this is just making it longer,” Emily Zitkus said with a laugh before finally making it through a green light.

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