By Anna Skinner
Westfield Mayor Andy Cook spoke to a crowded city hall March 16 to discuss the possibility of widening Ind. 32 in the next three to five years.
The road is owned by the state, and Cook plans to ask the Indiana Dept. of Transportation to pay for the widening project. Cook held the update due to a comment he saw on Nextdoor, a social media outlet for local neighborhoods to express comments and concerns.
“I saw a lot of talk beginning about (Ind.) 32 through downtown and how traffic is terrible and I innocently wrote back, which I never do,” Cook said. “Enough people were interested to get together and talk about it.
“Thirty-two is a challenge to us as a traffic piece. It’s not going to get any better; it’s going to get busier. The bad news is we have to influence (INDOT) to get projects done in the manner we want them done. The good news is I hope they pay for it and not us.”
The plan Cook presented would allow for two lanes in each direction on Ind. 32 with a raised median. To accomplish that, approximately 30 feet south of the existing curb along Ind. 32 would be needed to apply for the necessary space.
Concern was raised on maintaining and keeping historical buildings along Ind. 32, which is why, Cook said, the plan was to extend the right of way to the south and not the north. The extension would require space owned by Erica’s Place, Union Street Flowers and Gifts and others. However, it would persevere the Carnegie Library building and the historical bank building on the north side of Ind. 32. The four-lane Ind. 32 would extend from East Street to U.S. 31.
Cook said the city hopes to extend East Street to connect to Westfield Boulevard. The city plans to extend Westfield Boulevard to travel from Union Street to cross U.S. 31 and come out near Target on 151st Street.
“This is up to INDOT, and the only way to get something done is if we show community support and I engage enough of you to solicit our INDOT and our legislators to get something done,” Cook said.
There is no timeline for funding to update Ind. 32, but a plan for future expansion could be approved as early as mid-April.
For more, visit westfield.in.gov.