Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Details on Darke County’s Plans for State Route 242 and the Darke County Airport

A few people have asked for more details on the county’s intentions and plans involving the section of State Route 242 that is coming under county control near the Darke County Airport, so I have reached out to Commissioner Stegall who was happy to provide some details on the plan.

As noted in Commissioners Meeting minutes from April 16th (click here to download), ODOT is ‘abandoning’ the entire section of 242 that runs through Richland and Wayne Townships. This leaves that roadway under control of the county. Mike noted that this stretch of roadway was one of the shortest in the state, which is why ODOT is so cooperative in letting it go out of their realm of responsibility. ODOT is also giving the county $800,000 in the transaction, so that modifications can be made to account for the impact this change will have on the surrounding roadways.

What is the project?

The county intends to close the north/south portion of the roadway (shown in the map above) which will enable the airport to utilize the last 300 feet of existing runway at the airport. With the roadway where it is, there are safety risks with planes taking off so close to where traffic exists. This project does not include physically lengthening the runway, however, that is something that the county would like to do in the future if the opportunity exists. Just by closing that section of 242, the runway gains 300 feet of usable runway.

The project is just in the beginning stages now, and the county doesn't expect any work to happen at least until 2013.

Why the interest in expanding the capabilities of the airport?

Commissioner Stegall noted that the airport is commonly used, among other things, by local companies bringing executives in and out of the area, including Midmark, Continental Carbonic, FRAM Group and others, and is also used by some NASCAR drivers and teams when they come into the area for the Prelude to the Dream. These companies, and some of the NASCAR drivers, have larger planes that the airport cannot currently accommodate, but some will be able to with the additional available length of the runway. Some will still not be able to unless the county physically lengthens it even further, but again, that is currently not in the scope of this project. Currently, some of these folks are forced to land at New Knoxville and the expanded capabilities of the airport would allow them to utilize the DC Airport.

The Concerns…

Mike also noted that the county is working closely with ODOT as well as the townships on the project, and the townships have legitimate concerns about the changes this could have to traffic patterns, specifically that traffic from 121 and 127 will begin to use Chase Road. Mike stressed that this is a legitimate concern and that the county is doing what they can to help out financially to make modifications to the area to be able to handle the changes in traffic. Although it is unclear at this point (depending on who interprets the deal), part of the $800,000 could potentially go to help this issue specifically. If not, the Commissioner Stegall said that the county is looking for ways to fund the project. In addition, County Engineer Jim Surber is working to make sure the roads are capable of handling the changes.

What do you think? Join the discussion in the comments below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Featured Posts

/* Track outbound links in Google Analytics */