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New bypass needs fix

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Motorists have been getting acquainted with the new U.S. 50 bypass around North Vernon for two months and sharing concerns with local officials.

North Vernon Mayor Harold “Soup” Campbell said he has heard an area of concern to many drivers is the section of road where the new U.S. 50 meets the old U.S. 50 on the way to Seymour to the west.

Maj. Jerry Shepherd, public information officer for the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department, said the intersection needs additional work.

“It’s too dark, and there are not enough signs. That is an area that definitely needs attention” he said.

The new two-lane roadway runs from U.S. 50 northeast to State Road 3, north of North Vernon. This 4.5-mile section, which officially opened Dec. 10, is considered the western portion of the bypass.

Construction of the second section, the eastern portion, will begin within the next two years.

“Anytime you have a project of this size, there will be concerns and things that need to be improved,” Campbell said.

The new highway is under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Department of Transportation, which will be responsible for any changes made.

Harry Maginity, an INDOT spokesman, acknowledged that adjustments will need to be made to the new bypass section.

“There will be an official traffic study done to see what can be done to improve traffic flow.

First, new traffic patterns must be established. It takes four or five months for drivers just to get used to driving on a new route.

Once the traffic has normalized, then you can see where the problem areas are,” Maginity said.

Drivers can shorten the time needed to identify any problem areas by reporting their observations to the state transportation department, he said.

“If they get enough complaints, then the people doing the traffic study will know where they should look first,” Maginity said. “It can shorten the process so improvements can be made faster.”

Campbell said users of the bypass should become involved in determining needed improvements.

The mayor recommended that citizens who have concerns about the new roadway should contact the Indiana Department of Transportation by letter or telephone. But the mayor’s office also will accept calls and forward concerns to INDOT, he added.

Campbell said motorists should have a little patience with the new roadway.

“When the whole bypass is finished, things are going to be much better,” Campbell said.

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