Work to begin on next phase of Lanesville Connector road

(Source: Rachael Krause/ WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Rachael Krause/ WAVE 3 News)
Updated: May. 22, 2018 at 8:09 PM EDT
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(Source: Rachael Krause/ WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Rachael Krause/ WAVE 3 News)

HARRISON COUNTY, IN (WAVE) – Harrison County is moving forward with plans to build a connector road from Lanesville up to State Road 64 near Georgetown.

It's a multi-stage project county leaders have been planning for and working toward for 15 years.

"To my knowledge, it's probably the biggest road construction project Harrison County has ever undertaken," said Kevin Russel, Harrison County Highway Engineer.

Getting to and from Interstate 64 from parts of Harrison County will soon be easier. During a meeting earlier in May, the county council approved funding for the phase 2-A of its Lanesville Connector project, which will provide a clear two-lane route from State Road 64 near Georgetown to Interstate 64 and Lanesville.

"It'll save some time," Russel said. "And I think it'll channel more traffic through the Lanesville interchange and provide a much more direct route than what's currently available. Now that the project has the green light from the county, crews are already getting to work taking down trees near George's Hill Road. Next month, they'll start the construction."

This phase of the Lanesville connector will cost around $9-million for a 1.4-mile stretch of road, with federal funding covering part of the cost, Russel said.

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Gary Davis, Chairman of the Harrison County Council, said they've talked about this for 15 years and now, they need to finish it.

"Once you've got to this point, you've got to complete it, or you have to abandon all the investment you've got in it," Davis said. "And obviously, that's not a good idea."

The new road will drive traffic and development to the Lanesville interchange, he said.

Soon, Davis said they'll announce a manufacturer who plans to move in the area.

"We'll be announcing sometime in June," Davis said. "I think, that a small manufacturing company is moving to the interchange, right across from where Areva is now. We also believe there will be considerable housing development on a collateral basis as the area develops. This is our best opportunity to bring new business to Harrison County."

Harrison County Councilmember Gary Byrne voted against the project. He said the cost of the connecter road far outweighs the benefits of accessibility or development and that money could be better spent elsewhere in the county.

Construction work will begin mid-June.  People will be able to drive on that new road when it's completed around June of 2020.

Four councilmembers voted for the project, Byrne voted against the project. Two councilmembers abstained from voting as a result of potential conflict of interests in the project.

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