New operators close turnaround spots on Indy Toll Road

| Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The obstacles that once stood in the way of the Indiana Toll Road lease becoming a reality have come and gone, but a new type of obstacle is now part of the landscape.

ITR Concession Co., the Spanish-Australian private investor in charge of operating the 157-mile toll road, has closed off the turnaround spots that link the eastbound and westbound lanes.

The company views the turn around spots and the temptation for people to make U-turns as hazardous.

But state troopers, who now have to find another way to turn around, have a different view.

Indiana State Police Trooper Jeff Dolson told WSJV-TV in South Bend, IN, that emergency response times and general patrols will be affected by the installment of barricades.

“(Access has) been somewhat eliminated, but we’re having to go to other areas or go down to exits to get turned around,” Dolson said.

Weather will also play a factor for troopers that choose to use the grass medians to turn around.

ITR Concession Co. hopes to install permanent poles at the turn-around spots that emergency vehicles can actually drive over without damage. ITR plans to send emergency personnel and troopers information on how to drive over them without causing damage.

A toll road spokesman told WSJV that other motorists would not be able to drive over the permanent poles without damaging their vehicles.

The temporary barricades will be in place for the next month.

ITR Concession Co. is owned by Cintra of Spain and Macquarie Infrastructure Group of Australia, which leased the Indiana Toll Road from the state for $3.85 billion, in exchange for the right to collect tolls for 75 years.

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