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St. Joseph County to redesign Douglas Road

Big changes are on the way to one of St. Joseph County's busiest corridors.

The county is in the process of redesigning Douglas Road between the intersections of Twyckenham Drive and State Road 23.

“Douglas Road is a transportation corridor that's always been or has been on St. Joseph County's long-term transportation plan for awhile,” said St. Joseph County Engineer Jessica Clark.

Now after years in the making, St. Joseph County is in phase one of an estimated $10 million project to redesign Douglas Road.

“We've got our missing link in the middle there between the roundabout at Twyckenham and the intersection of State Road 23,” Clark said.

Since 2006, the county along with the University of Notre Dame, the cities of South Bend and Mishawaka, have worked to improve traffic flow along Douglas Road.

It required adding travel lanes and redesigning key intersections.

A project, St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Rea said is paying off.

“Transportation is absolutely critical to our efforts to attract people here,” Rea said.

But now it is time to finish what they started.

So, the county secured funding to hire a design consultant.

Soon, work will begin on a plan to expand the road, which now operates with one lane in each direction.

“Once we get some survey information, collect some traffic data, we'll take a look at what facility is going to best serve the traffic needs of that area,” Clark explained.

The county is certain travel lanes will be added between Twyckenham and Ironwood.

But it's too early to know how Douglas Road between ironwood and State Road 23 will be redesigned.

County officials hope these improvements will continue to bring visitors into South Bend for football games and other events. But they are more excited to help improve the daily commute for residents living here.

“We're thinking beyond the six Saturdays a year and thinking year round. From a business stand point in particular, the easier we can make those connections the better,” said Rea.

The scope of the project is very large.

Therefore, after collecting data, and drafting a design, construction may not begin for another four to five years.  

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