Residents concerned about gas station expansion plan at dangerous St. Joe Co. intersection

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 7:43 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - On Tuesday, a small business owner pledged to help install two additional left turn lanes at a dangerous intersection outside his store.

The pledge came from the owner of the Country Cupboard at S.R. 2 and Quince in western St. Joseph County. There have been at least three fatal accidents at the intersection since 2014—with the last one coming less than three months ago.

The pledge came as about a dozen people who live in the area showed up at a meeting of the St. Joseph County Plan Commission to speak against plans to expand the business.

“The intersection is very dangerous. That needs to be fixed, in my opinion, before this goes through,” said a 70-year resident of Quince Road told the commission during the public hearing.

“I think it is very irresponsible to go on with any kind of change in that intersection right now, before we straighten out what’s causing all the accidents,” added Dan Caruso.

Advocates for the business argued that moving the project forward was the only way to bring about substantial improvements.

“This project, if it goes forward, would allow a private business owner to pay for some expansion to public roads that probably won’t happen otherwise. So, there’s an opportunity for an improvement to left turning at the intersection that otherwise may not happen,” said Debra Hughes, a civil engineer working on the project.

The expansion involves adding diesel fuel pumps, pavement, parking, and an access driveway.

While 14 residents spoke against the project, and no residents spoke in favor, the plan commission sent a needed zoning change to the St. Joseph County Council with a favorable recommendation.

Because S.R. 2 is owned by the state, any changes to the intersection would have to be made through INDOT.