State interested in U.S. 31/Bear Lane improvements

The state of Indiana wants to work with Bartholomew County to improve the safety at Bear Lane and U.S. 31 in Taylorsville.

Engineers from the state told the County Commissioners Monday that no plans were immediately in the works to address safety concerns, brought to light by the crash of Columbus North star basketball player Josh Speidel on Super Bowl Sunday a year ago.

Local attorney Rich Eynon brought the issue before the commissioners a few weeks ago, saying that he was so concerned about the intersection safety that he commissioned his own study of the intersection, along with a list of recommendations. At the time, commissioners said that there was little they could do without the states’ involvement, because the intersection is on a state highway.

The INDOT representatives said they were interested in considering all the options and wanted to work with the commissioners to find a solution, up to elminating a crossover at the median where Spiedel was struck.

Hillary Lowther, district traffic engineer for INDOT’s Seymour district, said that closing the median would be at the extreme end of possible solutions. But she explains that some solutions may require more work or expense than expected. For example, it isn’t as simple as changing the speed limit. The state must first do a speed study before making any speed limit changes.

She also said the cost to install four solar-powered lights at the intersection would cost more than $86,000.