MAXWELL — Hancock County officials recently took the first step toward improving traffic flow through a part of Maxwell that’s been plagued by rush-hour backups for years.
They’re working to buy an approximately quarter-acre property at State Road 9 and County Road 500N. The land will be paved to widen the intersection to make way for semitrailers that need extra clearance to turn into County Materials Corp., a concrete manufacturer located on County Road 500N.
In the fall, the company announced plans for an expansion project that will increase the number of semis that enter and exit the facility each day, raising concerns among residents about added traffic in the area. The intersection is already tight, and when semi drivers need to turn, they slow down traffic along State Road 9, particularly during rush hour, residents say.
Hancock County Highway Engineer Gary Pool said he hopes to widen the intersection by removing a concrete barrier on the parking lot of the property, which would then allow semis to cut the corner and clear the intersection more quickly. The property, 6 S. Main Street, was formerly a used car lot, according to local records.
Pool said the owners of the land — Farmers Grain of Maxwell, a business located near the intersection — are interested in selling. The county council approved $50,000 for the purchase.
Currently between 30 and 35 semis come in and out of the County Materials Corp facility daily. Company representatives expect the expansion to add between 15 and 20 trucks to those numbers, which will only compound traffic issues in the area, said Scott Evans, who lives on County Road 500E near the facility.
The effort to improve the intersection was spurred after Evans presented a petition with nearly 40 signatures from Maxwell residents requesting action from the county to improve the intersection.
Commissioner Marc Huber, who represents Center Township, where the intersection lies, said the county will seek a more long-term fix for traffic flow through Maxwell, but that might take some time.
Adding a turning lane for the facility would require support from the Indiana Department of Transportation, which is responsible for State Road 9, Huber said.
But by allowing trucks to maneuver through the turn with ease, Huber expects to see a significant improvement.
Pool said he hopes to purchase the other parcels of land surrounding the intersection as they become available. By securing those properties, he would be laying the groundwork for a larger improvement project, he said.
Evans said he’s pleased to see the county taking steps to fix the intersection. Though a full-blown improvement project might be years away, he still expects to see a significant improvement.
“Things seem to be headed in the right direction,” Evans said.