02/08/11 The Marshall County Commissioners and County Attorney Jim Clevenger announced the negotiated terms of the proposed U.S. 31 relinquishment agreement between the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Marshall County Monday morning during the Commissioner’s meeting.
Once the new U.S. 31 Corridor is completed the portion of the current U.S. 31 from 4th Road north to the county line will no longer be used by the general traveling public. The State would like to give that section of roadway to Marshall County.
Commissioner Kevin Overmyer said discussions on this relinquishment began in 2003 or 2004 when Joe Kernan was Governor. Originally INDOT wasn’t too forthcoming with a cash payment but with negotiations ongoing for sometime it appears that the two are close a closing a deal.
Details of the agreement that would have Marshall County taking ownership of U.S. 31 north and south of LaPaz, 2.89 miles includes the payment of $4.2 million to the County. Three annual payments would be made to the County in the amount of $1.4 million beginning in September of 2014. Not only would INDOT pay the county, they would also reconstruct 3A Road, removing the bridge ramp on to US 31 north bound, realign the roadway for transition to Michigan Road, and restripe the roadway.
County Attorney Jim Clevenger said, “Commissioner Jack Roose, Neal Haeck the County Highway Superintendent and I continue to discuss the situation with the Town of LaPaz. LaPaz has been approaches as well and have some opportunities but probably need us to go along with them.” He then suggested a separate agreement with the Town of LaPaz.
Clevenger told the commissioners no action was needed at this time. He said he was still looking for a copy of the bridge inspection report for the bridge over the CSX Railroad in LaPaz and Neal Haeck is looking for information concerning the increase in the county’s MVHA funds with the additional road miles.
Clevenger said at this point the County is working with MACOG and St. Joseph County tying to reduce the 4 lanes to 2 lanes for some or all of the miles to be transferred to the county.
Overmyer said, “We are hoping for a smooth transition between the two counties.”
Overmyer also commented, “Years ago when the current U.S. 31 was built the county could not agree on relinquishment terms for old Michigan Road north of Argos. Since that time the road has been a tier 3 road for the state, meaning it doesn’t get taken care of as quickly as the main traveled state roads.” Overmyer said INDOT has also offered a memorandum of understanding to relinquish 4 miles of roadway north of Argos for a one time cash payment of $700,000.
The County will be talking with Argos on this memorandum since a portion of the roadway in within the town.