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Upgrades to Hillegas Road could take close to a decade in lane widening project

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Traffic tie-ups on busy roadways are nothing new.

A traffic headache on Hillegas Road is slated to see big improvement.

But drivers and business owners on the road won’t see the work done for awhile.

The two-lane road between State Boulevard and Coliseum Boulevard further north can see traffic backups and at times it can be a little treacherous.

“There’s still residential development on both sides of the road with driveways and whenever somebody is stopped to make a turn into one of the drives it holds everybody up,” said Fort Wayne Public Works Director Shan Gunawardena.

Help is on the way.

City traffic engineers say Hillegas will be widened to four lanes, with a center turn lane added at points where one is needed, between State and Coliseum Boulevard.

The completion date for phase one is around 2025, while phase two could be done a year or two later.

Further south, longer term, plans call for expanding lanes by the rock quarries, and for the road to go either over or under railroad tracks near Engle Road.

Hillegas has been a work in progress for 20 years or more, with lane widening and new bridges in the vicinity of Jefferson Pointe Mall.

It’s now a major north-south thoroughfare on the west side.

It’s also a big deal because it provides direct access to Fort Wayne International Airport for businesses on the fast growing northwest side of town.

“We have a fleet of about 17 vehicles that are on the road, between sales people and service people, and so the better access we have to our customers, the better support we can give them,” said Matt Hibiske, president of All Star Communications.

Work on Hillegas will be going on for a long time.

There is engineering and design, permitting, land purchase and construction challenges, and the timing of federal funding can be iffy.

Indeed, it may not be a finished product until about 2035.

More than 22,000 vehicles use Hillegas Road on a week-day.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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