Neighborhood Leaders Riled About Future Of State Boulevard

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 14, 2012 Updated Sep 14, 2012 at 6:18 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Fort Wayne public works officials say a group of northside neighborhood associations are getting stirred up for nothing over the idea that State Boulevard might be turned into a truck route.

Neighborhood leaders have sent a letter to city officials, asking that a major road and bridge project on State be scrapped and started over.

The letter was endorsed by 16 neighborhood and business associations that went out to city council members and Mayor Henry, asking, in effect, for a widening and road straightening on West State to be re-designed from scratch.

An 80-year old bridge in the Eastbrook-Westbrook area is slated to be re-built, increasing the elevation of the bridge deck and straightening out a fairly sharp curve, with the intention of improving traffic flow.

Michelle Briggs Wedaman, President of Brookview Neighborhood nearby, says the project has been poorly managed, and should be halted immediately.

Wedaman is also charging that the city is contemplating widening of state for several more miles to the east, as part of a plan to make the street a truck route.

" To convert State Boulevard into another Coliseum Boulevard is not what we want, and not what serves this community," says Wedaman.

" We've had some calls from neighborhoods who have heard this misinformation. They're worried for no reason, because there certainly is no plan for a truck route. There is no plan to raise the speed limit. It is going to stay 30 miles per hour," said Frank Suarez, a spokesperson with the City of Fort Wayne.

Neighborhood leaders say the truck route is suggested in a 2030 regional transportation plan.

City officials say there is no discussion of a widening of East State, or talk of a truck route in that plan.

The West State road and bridge work is supposed to begin in the middle of 2014.

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