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Editorial: County route starting to feel growing pains

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COUNTY Road 200S is a county road in more ways than one. In looks it is a dead ringer for dozens of other narrow rural roads scattered throughout Bartholomew County.

There is, however, one big difference between this particular roadway and most of its peers: traffic volume.

Columbus City Engineer David Hayward (the road is the city’s responsibility) estimates the daily traffic count on 200S to be in the neighborhood of 5,000 vehicles. That not only sets the road apart from the others but has posed a concern that has grown with the traffic. Bluntly put, the narrow road is not suited to handle that kind of volume — now or in the future when traffic is expected to grow.

The primary generator of this traffic is Southside Elementary School. Currently, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation has seven buses that run routes through the nearby Shadow Creek Farms subdivision, and the school also draws from Tipton Lakes. Southside also serves as one of the district’s bus hubs, where students at other schools catch buses to their end destinations.

In addition to the school, the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds has an impact on 200S travel. The nine-day run of the county fair might be short in terms of the full year, but congestion at times is heavy enough to slow traffic to a crawl.

The numbers are expected to increase each spring after completion of the baseball diamonds at the school, which will be used by the Columbus North squad.

Fortunately, the new 200S should be able to handle this kind of volume when work (which is scheduled to begin within the next 30 to 60 days) is completed. Officials project that motorists will have a slightly wider roadway that will be able to handle up to 10,000 vehicles a day.

The finished product (improvements will be from Indiana 11 to a point just south of the elementary school) will feature curbs and gutters along with sidewalks that officials hope more children will use for walking to and from school.

That will make a lot of people — drivers and pedestrians alike — happier.

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