Indiana Department of Transportation officials pitched the department’s proposal for two new J-turn intersections in Logansport Tuesday night. But residents appear to want to put a halt to the idea.
A J-turn makes drivers wanting to cross a divided highway make three turns instead of proceeding directly across four lanes of traffic. First, a right into the flow of traffic, then an almost immediate left in a J-shaped lane across the median and finally another almost immediate right back onto the original road.
Many residents were not in favor, citing the number of large farming and livestock vehicles that move through the area. Some locals suggested adding extra signage or lights would improve safety much more cheaply.
And State Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) says when another J-turn meeting was held in the small town of Argos, residents had the same concerns.
“And if all they have is J-turns, or if they’re manufacturing and they have a lot of truck traffic for delivering parts and for removing the finished product, we’re going to be stacking trucks up alongside the road,” he says.
The two J-turns would be built along U.S. 24, at the intersections with County Road 600 East and Logansport Road. INDOT calls these two areas ‘hot spots’ for safety programs – despite each intersection seeing only a couple thousand cars a month and averaging only about one crash every two months.
Logansport resident Jessica Kranz says INDOT was pushing what she calls “propaganda” for the proposed J-turns.
“They kept saying the same thing repeatedly and I feel as though they sent their best puppets,” she says. “And they weren’t necessarily equipped with knowing our community and what the needs are of our community.”
INDOT spokesman Doug Moats says even if a J-turn is implemented, it could be changed later if it doesn’t work for the community.
“A J-turn might be a good fix, and might be a permanent fix,” he says. “But, it also could be just a way to hit the traffic safety concerns initially, and then evaluate another alternative down the road.”
He says converting an intersection to a J-turn is about one-twentieth the cost of building an interchange, and takes a couple of months to complete.
Kranz says INDOT doesn’t know the community, and appears to be looking for a one-size-fits-all solution.
“I absolutely think this was propaganda and that they were sent to appease us,” she says. “They have chosen how they’ll do it, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best outcome for any of us.”
INDOT spokespeople repeated throughout the meeting that it is possible for trucks to navigate a J-turn, albeit a bit slower.