Yorktown looks at $60 million freeway along County Road 600W

By Rick Yencer

YORKTOWN, IN - A grand design for a four lane roadway connecting Daleville, Yorktown and Cammack using County Road 600-W was revealed by the Yorktown Town Council on Monday.

 But the more than $60 million price tag that includes a bridge over White River and significant right-of-way along a county road could make it virtually impossible in any lifetime. Yorktown just found it took more than 20 years just to improve and widen Ind. 32 from Nebo Road through the old town and that was federal money tied to a state highway.

 Schneider Corp. of Indianapolis, was paid $25,326 for the designs presented to town officials and the public as Kevin Foster, Schneider's point man, talked about gateways that would bring traffic to the old town besides serve the Marsh Warehouse better from Ind.. 67 than the current Ind. 32 route.

 When Foster was short on price tags, council member Steve Fields asked how much and when that raised  even more questions from the public that wondered where the money would come for a local road project.

 Foster said the work could be done and paid for in stages although he quickly estimated about $30 million for the bridges and its approaches besides doubling that for the stretches north to Ind. 332 and south to Ind. 67, connecting McIntire Concrete on the south to a proposed Yorktown Commons on the north developed by Gordon Cox. Along that route would be Marsh Warehouse, the Yorktown Sports Park and Nixon Farms.

 Foster pointed out that more traffic was on County Road 400-W although that road has even more homes and property owners with the buildings even closer to the roadway.

 Fields wanted the presentation for months after questioning why the town was investing in a study for a project that was impractical, given its huge cost.

 Mike Blanch, a farmer whose son lives on 600-W asked whether Daleville was contacted about the project since a portion of 600-W was in Salem Township.

 And there was that huge cost where Delaware County commissioners-elect Sherry Riggin  and James King wondered where the money would be found.

 Council President Bob Ratchford said the project might be feasible if the state extended old Ind. 5  from Van Buren through Delaware County. Other council members thought the project was no more than a plan, And some people in the audience recalled the last time a bypass was built in Delaware County that took state highway traffic out of  Muncie and put it on an eastside bypass.

 The council also wasted no time committing another $18,000 to designing a roundabout at Nebo and Jackson Streets, similar to the one at  Morrison Road and Jackson.

 Local government recently announced plans for another roundabout to keeping traffic moving at the busy intersection that sees at least 12,000 cars a day. About $2 million was spent on the other roundabout and with a new auto mall at Nebo and McGalliard Road, look for Nebo as well as Morrison south of McGalliard to be widened in the next couple of years.

 Despite spending more money on road plans, council did not have the money to grant pay raises for town employees. There seemed to be conflict about whether a two percent raise was too much with the town's 80-20 health insurance and wellness program besides employees getting two percent yearly in recent years.

 Fields said Yorktown employees were probably the most generously paid public workers around next to the Muncie Sanitary District that pays the highest salaries of local government next to public schools and state universities.

 The town manager, Pete Olson, current makes $66,300 while clerk-treasurer Beth Neff gets a mere $44,980. And council members, all Republicans, make $7,500 except for the president who gets $8,000.

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