Warrick County officials signed resolutions in opposition of plans for improvements to the intersection at State Road 66 and Epworth Road in Newburgh.
The Warrick County Commissioners and Warrick County Council approved resolutions in their Monday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Oct. 1 meetings, respectively. Warrick County Economic Development Director Steve Roelle told both agencies that the resolutions allow county elected officials the opportunity to add their voice to a chorus of business owners, individuals and even school officials that oppose the Indiana Department of Transportation’s to update the intersection with a J-turn, a displaced left turn, on the west side of the intersection and a U-turn, Median U-turn, on the east side of the intersection.
Roelle told the council that county officials began to step-in when INDOT began to promote plans based on old data. He said inaccurate data led to disconcerting results.
“INDOT wanted to put an untested, unproven, unwarranted and unacceptable solution at Epworth including traffic count numbers that were incorrect,” he said.
Roelle noted the traffic numbers had been so drastically misrepresented that the county already surpassed traffic projections for 2045 in 2020. He said Warrick County officials continued to come to the table to find other options, but those option hit a wall.
Roelle said his office is now working with legislators for a solution. He said his office is working with Lt. Gov. Suzzanne Crouch and is asking for the support of Warrick County agencies to highlight the need for a resolution.
“We worked as hard as we could with INDOT and we’re trying to build a little of a political coalition up to the state level, but we can’t accept something that’s not going to work,” he said. “We think we deserve a fully symmetrical displaced left and we don’t feel we should be asked to fund it.”
INDOT announced the results of a study in 2019 that included plans to update the Epworth and State Road 66 for a cost of $5 million. While the intersection was included in the study, the intersection was not set to be a part of the overall plan to update the State Road 66 corridor throughout the Evansville area. That overall project will involve $65 million in improvements involving pavement rehabilitation, changes to the Lloyd Expressway at Rosenberger Avenue, Corbierre Avenue, St. Joseph Avenue, Vann Avenue, Burkhardt Road and Cross Pointe Boulevard.