Proposal Aims to Make Deadly Indiana Highway Safer

The Indiana Department of Transportation has proposed a way to make a deadly stretch of highway in western Indiana safer.

Department officials told the Vincennes Sun-Commercial that an intersection of U.S. 41 near Oaktown may be turned into a J-turn intersection. A J-turn is a type of median U-turn that could provide drivers with a safer way to cross the highway.

That portion of the highway has been the scene of more than 20 accidents and numerous fatalities in the past three years, according to Knox County Sheriff’s department officials. There have been four fatalities caused by accidents there so far this year.

Sheriff Mike Morris said most crashes are a result of failing to yield the right of way.

“There’s a slight curve there that gives the perception that vehicles are going slower than they actually are, so it’s kind of a mind game situation,” he said.

Randy Rinsch, the town council president in Oaktown, said he knows how dangerous the highway can be because he travels in the area every day.

“If you don’t wait and look three times back and forth, you won’t see a car regardless of what speed it’s going until it’s too late,” Rinsch said. “You’ll pull out in front of it.”

The project is still in its beginning stages. County commissioner Kellie Streeter said the department will survey the land to determine how much property it will need to acquire and will hold public hearings. Streeter said the plan may take years to implement.

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