State Street's 2018 Outlook? 'It's Going To Be A Rough Year'

Dec 20, 2017

How State Street itself looked for most of 2017 is how several of its feeder roads will look in 2018, likely forcing more traffic onto the already-crowded new thoroughfare.
Credit Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

As West Lafayette and Purdue leaders previewed 2018 construction along State Street Wednesday, one question hung over their presentation: can the new road, with its increased congestion, take the strain it’ll face when several nearby roads close next year?

Traffic signals along the road are not currently responsive to traffic fluctuations. Don Petersen, one of the Purdue representatives on the Joint Board overseeing the project, declined to say whether that would help the several traffic jams the road now sees every day.

“The ATMS and the timing on the signals is a West Lafayette project, so [City Engineer] Ed Garrison would be able to tell you exactly when the timing issues will be worked out,” Petersen says.

The ATMS is the city’s Automated Traffic Management System, a computerized way to make traffic lights responsive to the number of cars using each one. Garrison says he’s hoping to link State Street into the grid in the next few months.

“The goal would be have it all wrapped up and ready to go before March,” Garrison says.

But he says 2018 is still going to require even more patience from drivers.

“It’s going to be a rough year next year traffic-wise getting everyone through while we’re doing the rest of the work.”

And even if the city meets its March goal, Garrison says he’s not aware of any traffic modeling that’s been done to determine whether State Street can handle all the extra cars it’s likely to shoulder in the coming 12 months, as the so-called “ring roads” around it are re-done.