Last week, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), working in conjunction with the city of Greensburg and Indiana District 67 Representative Randy Frye (R-Greensburg), installed a third lane of eastbound traffic at Highway 421 and Interstate 74 near Honda Motor Manufacturing of Indiana.
Frye told the Daily News Tuesday afternoon that the third lane was badly needed to avoid traffic gridlock and congestion when Honda releases workers for the day.
“The problem was for traffic coming off I-74 at 421 into Greensburg,” Frye explained. “Anyone who’s tried to take that exit while Honda is letting out will tell you it was a mess. It was extremely dangerous. There simply wasn’t enough room for traffic turning left onto 421 from the interstate.”
He continued, “At that time of day, cars are coming east along 421, leaving from Honda. There are hundreds of vehicles, one after the other, just coming and coming in a steady stream for 30 minutes or so.”
Semi-trucks, Frye added, made the problem even worse, and it wasn’t uncommon to see traffic backed-up all the way down the I-74 off-ramp and onto the interstate itself.
Traffic coming off I-74 initially turns right onto the I-74 overpass, which intersects 421 a few yards later at the stop sign.
“Obviously,” Frye said, “the situation was creating a serious traffic hazard. This was a recipe for someone to get rear-ended on the interstate.
Frye said that Herbert first approached him about the problem in November and that his office and the mayor have been working with INDOT since.
“It took a little bit of time,” Frye said, “but we’re pretty pleased with the solution. The extra lane’s about a quarter-mile long. That gives traffic turning left from I-74 plenty of time to speed up and merge with the traffic from Honda.”
The new merge lane is partitioned from 421’s existing lanes by soft barriers, which, according to Frye, “won’t damage your car if you hit them.”
If the new lane doesn’t alleviate the problem, Frye, Herbert and INDOT are prepared to install a traffic light at the intersection.
“We’d like to avoid that solution if we could,” Frye said. “A traffic light creates its own aggravations. We feel confident the new lane will do the trick, but we’ll know for sure in the next few months.”
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011