LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) — The Pendleton Pike corridor in the city of Lawrence has a high crash rate, so Indiana Department of Transportation is making changes to help alleviate some of that danger.
Chief Gary Woodruff of Lawrence Police Department said, “Any improvements along this stretch of road that can be made in a reasonable way will probably be a good thing.”
The goal of the project is to improve safety. INDOT says 45% of the crashes in this corridor were angle crashes, meaning someone is hitting the side of another car. Half of those crashes resulted in injury.
“You can see from some of the examples here some crashes have occurred and we have had a few crash fatalities out there sadly,” Woodruff said.
At a public meeting Thursday in the Public Assembly Room at Lawrence Government Center, people gave mixed reviews to the idea to add medians to limit left turns and reconfiguring the intersection at Pendleton Pike and 56th Street.
Debbie Hughes opposed the changes. She says the proposed changes are not the right direction. She wants officials to concentrate on distracted driving.
“I think it’s going to be more of a headache than it’s going to be a benefit. This is the second time in 25 years that I’ve lived here that they have done construction on Pendleton Pike,” Hughes said. “With some of the pictures that I’m seeing of some of the medians that are going to go down there, I think it’s going to be more dangerous.”
The project designers say the medians and limited left turns as well as designated spots for U-turns can help lower the crash rate on Pendleton Pike, which also serves as U.S. 36 and State Road 67.
Pamela Anderson supported the changes. She said, “I am excited that it’s going to lower the accidents and the percentage of accidents and the fatal accidents that happen both on Pendleton Pike and on 56th. As I go to make those left turns, I know how dangerous this road can be.”
Some fear local businesses will suffer as a result of the changes.
Hughes said, “Some of the businesses that I see that run down along Pendleton Pike, it looks like they’re getting cut off completely,’ said Hughes. “They’re going to have to do U-turns to get into their business. I think the U-turns are going to be an issue in itself.”
Construction would not start until at least 2024 and could last two years. The project is still in the early stages, and INDOT welcomes any public input. To connect with the project team, contact INDOT by using an online forum, call 855-463-6848, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.