The U.S. 50 project involves construction of a highway bypass around the city of North Vernon in Jennings County. The western half of the project, now under construction, consists of a new two-lane roadway connection from U.S. 50 near C.R. 400 W north and east to S.R. 3, on the north side of North Vernon. The approximate length of this roadway is 4.5 miles. The new bypass will reduce congestion along U.S. 50 and S.R. 3/SR 7 through and around North Vernon; improve safety for both truck and passenger vehicles through and around North Vernon; provide an efficient transportation link between the existing and growing industrial area on the north side of North Vernon to U.S. 50; and support state and local transportation planning.
Purpose & Need
There are four core problems that the U.S. 50 West project will address. They are:
- Congestion. There are high levels of congestion through downtown North Vernon due to high traffic volumes (especially truck traffic) and traffic impediments.
- Safety. There is a high crash frequency on US 50 in the project area.
- Accessibility. An improved transportation network is required to support anticipated growth in employment and population.
- Planning: Improvements of U.S. 50 are necessary to maintain consistency with statewide and regional transportation plans.
Besides these four driving factors, the alternatives were judged on how well they met the following non-transportation goals:
- Minimize impacts to environmental and cultural resources
- Minimize social and economic impacts due to right-of-way acquisition and relocations
- Support local community needs and interests
- Provide a transportation facility consistent with local development patterns
As the U.S. 50 Corridor and North Vernon Bypass plans move forward, the following general timetable of activities was formulated for the West portion of the project:
- Initial public kickoff meeting September 2010
- An Open House was held on September 30, 2010 and over 150 people from the North Vernon area attended. Questions about the project were answered by staff from Parsons, the design engineering group, and INDOT staff. Comments from the public, both verbal and written, were received for consideration by the project team.
- Public Meeting: April 5, 2011. An Open House was held on April 5, 2011 and over 100 people from the North Vernon area attended. Questions about the project were answered by staff from INDOT and Parsons, the design engineering group. Comments from the public, both verbal and written, were received for consideration by the project team.
- Publish Environmental Assessment: November 2011
- Public Hearing: November 9, 2011, Jennings County Middle School, 5 - 8pm
- FHWA publishes FONSI for the new road project: December 16, 2011
- Possible letting of some spot improvements: May 2012
- Right of Way acquisition begins: Fall 2011
- Letting for new bypass: Spring 2012
- Construction began: March 2012
- Open to traffic: End of December 2013