Someone who is not familiar with Fort Wayne traffic patterns may become confused trying to exit from I-69 onto Coldwater Road. Equally agitating is the infamous “J” turn for someone traveling north on Coldwater Road and trying to turn west onto Ludwig Road.
This past week, city officials and representatives of the Indiana Department of Transportation announced and detailed plans for reworking that traffic pattern.
What appears on the INDOT/City Engineer plans is a colossal road construction project that will iron out some long overdue traffic wrinkles including the construction of a new roundabout, closure of the current connection to Coldwater Road, a new drainage structure under Ludwig Road, extension of Oakbrook Parkway, a new traffic signal at Coldwater Road, a new entrance/exit to Northrop High School, a future connection to Pufferbelly Trail, storm water retention, and green infrastructure.
The roundabout will be constructed at East Ludwig Road at Oakbrook Parkway, at the site of the Oakbrook Office Park, and a new road (Oakbrook Parkway) will be constructed through the residential neighborhood and toward the south end of the parking lot of Northrop High School to the north.
As city engineers explained, the plan reworks a convoluted traffic flow pattern from eastbound Ludwig to northbound Coldwater, or northbound Coldwater to westbound Ludwig, whichever way you may be traveling. Construction is set to begin in early 2022 with project completion estimated to be in the fall of 2023.
In a statement issued Feb. 4, the Department of Public Works explained, “This Coldwater-Ludwig interchange was built over 40 years ago and designed for the purpose of retaining the cemetery. Due to the large amount of cross traffic coming from the I-69 ramp and the median access road that’s in between the northbound and southbound lanes of Coldwater Road, there have been over 80 accidents and 25 injuries in the last five years, making it imperative to relocate the interchange.”
Coldwater Road will be open to traffic with two lanes maintained in each direction throughout construction. Southbound I-69 ramps to northbound and southbound Coldwater Road will be closed during some phases of construction. The inside and outside lanes on I-69 will be closed intermittently.