Indiana Road Report
State of the Roads
Highway Classifications in the state of Indiana need to be updated and improved significantly due to the lack of adequate safety features and functionality of the current highway system. Initiatives that can be taken to improve the functionality and safety are as simple as installing all appropriate caution signs in accordance with MUTCD or MUTCD (CA variant) specifications. Additionally, proper lane markings (including centerlines and fog lines) and proper lane width are also key. appropriate intersection delineation is also important.
When approaching an at-grade intersection there should be visible cues that let someone know that there is an intersection there and to prepare if turning or approaching a stop sign or traffic signal. This includes appropriate advance intersection signing, which across much of the state is deficient. Also the installation of street lamps at intersections and freeway ramps will help to improve safety and visibility considerably. The roadway should be widened at major junctions. The Following design features should be considered at all at-grade intersections
- MUTCD compliant intersection signage placed 250-500 yards prior to the intersection
- Road name with wayfinding placed 250-500 yards prior to the intersection
- Overall pavement widths should be widened to allow for a 16 foot shoulder on either side of the travel lanes of roadway to allow for turning traffic and provide visual cues to the interchange
- Lighting at all dangerous and high traffic interchanges
- Safety Flashing beacon at all dangerous or high traffic intersections or at intersections with limited sight visibility or other safety concerns
- Traffic controls appropriate to safety needs (stop signs, traffic signals, roundabouts, etc)
Interstates and Freeways
For the most part indiana freeways are well designed and maintained by the state with some minor exceptions. There are opportunities however when it comes to lighting, street lamps, and illuminated signs, properly tapered exit and entrance ramps and lighted junctions. Most if not all on and off ramps should illuminated as well as where the ramps intersect the cross road this is a critical safety feature especially for nighttime driving.
In urban areas or high traffic areas. overhead directional and exit signage should be illuminated to aid in visibility at night. Truck traffic should be restricted to the rightmost through lane except when necessary to pass or approaching a junction. Signage advising drivers slower traffic keep right needs to be posted along freeways along with special truck restrictions in critical safety areas.
Mmost primary state highways are in relatively good condition but there are many improvements that should be made. these are the primary means besides the interstate system for traffic to travel across the state but many of these highways are lacking many of the important safety improvements. intersection design is poor at minor cross roads. most cross roads do not have advance signage. additionally these roadways should have limited access. there should be a limit to the number of cross roads or driveways that have direct access to the highway. all intersections should have appropriate advance signage including intersecting road name and warning lights if appropriate due to danger conditions.
In addition most intersections should be lit to improive visibility and safety and appropriate intersection design to include wider turning radiuses and turn pockets where there is a higher amount of turning traffic or where turning traffic could cause a blockage and significant delay to other motorists.
Roadway surfaces should be treated regularly to prevent water and ice penetration of the surface this includes chip sealing the road or total roadway rebuild if needed.
All major highways should avoid the use of roundabouts at major highway junctions due to the need to maintain safe highway speeds through the intersection. The exception to this rule is in situations where minor or secondary highways meed with lower traffic volumes where roundabout interchanges can be shown to improve traffic safety without causing undue delays and danger to ingressing and egressing trucks. On high traffic volume highways, traffic signals should be used where safety or roadway danger is a concern, especially where there is a high volume of unmetered high speed cross traffic. roundabout intersections should only be used for light to moderate traffic highways. As stated above most major highways are in good condition however another concern is traffic volume. level of service requirements for all state highways should be to maintain a los of b or better with a needed upgrade project if the los falls below c. added travel lanes and additional roadway projects are needed in some regions of the state to alleviate and or bypass congestion.
Kudos to the state for the SR-641 project and the US-231 bypass in West Lafayette for accomplishing that. Just a couple of examples.
Secondary and Tertiary Highways
It is more common to find secondary state roads in some state of disrepair or neglect. This is especially true in urban areas where highways can often become full of potholes and ruts. Additionally these routes tend to travel right through congested or tight downtown corridors. Subjecting them, as well as surrounding city streets, to higher traffic volumes and heavy truck traffic. Additionally, as mentioned above there are many missing safety features such as intersection signage, lighting and design geometry, This includes proper turning radiuses and bow outs to help in driver recognition of the upcoming intersection. This also includes proper lane striping and no-passing zones for the direction approaching the intersection.
While private roads and driveways are excepted in secondary and tertiary highways they should also be kept to a minimum especially on highways with higher traffic counts. Lighting of all major and dangerous intersections is a must and all intersections should have advance caution signage to comply with MUTCD standards.
Roadway surfaces are also an issue on many secondary roads. shoulder widths are not sufficient for a high speed road.
In addition pavement preservation methods that include chip-sealing are needed to help keep roads from deteriorating. Roads with severe stress fracturing and poor pavement are in need of a more thourough rehabilitation. For the most part pavement conditions are somewhat up to par except in urban areas where often pavement is showing more severe signs of failure.
county and local roads
By far the biggest area of opportunity for improvement is with the county urban and local roads. these roads are for the most part functionally deficient and in many cases in a state of severe disrepair. statewide indot seems to be keeping maintenance spending up to a certain level and roads are in an acceptable condition the same cannot be said for local non-state roads. many of the local dirt county roads are full of boggy conditions making them impassable during wet conditions or when the ground is soggy and mushy. this provides a greater hazard to low clearance vehicles. paved county roads by and large don\'t fare much better. many are extremely narrow and do not have center lines to delineate traffic. especially county roads that carry a higher traffic volume. this creates a serious hazard and likelihood of head on collisions along narrow highly traveled roads. this also signifies the need to have a system of upgraded county highways in indiana that are up to state standards to alleviate state highways but also to provide better routes for underserved communities or overly traveled routes. county roads are also notorious for inadequate signage for dangerous curves lack of proper signage for intersections. city and urban roads fair slightly better in condition and safety but are still functionally deficient. of course there are shining examples of how roads should be built such as roads like whitestown parkway 38th street keystone parkway etc. even hamilton county does a better job on it it\'s roads by at the minimum making sure there are painted centerlines along its roads. which is better than most counties. however many urban and rural roads have too few through lanes are lacking medians lacking road markings including centerlines lacking shoulders or sidewalks or curbs where appropriate lacking turn lanes and lighted intersections. these are all significant upgrades needed. there needs to be a significant influx of capital spending on road infrastructure over then next 10-25 years to help bring our county and city roads up to par. too often the spending allowances are far too low to allow for regular maintenance and upkeep let alone making widening and improvements. the state needs to come up with a way to help with an influx of funds to help make these improvements. Counties also need to do a better job in allocating funds into roads and infrastructure as well. roads and bridges deteriorate over time they must be maintained.Portal:The Road Report