AURORA, Ind. — Some residents in Southeast Indiana are opposed to a proposed highway project that could displace them from their homes.
The Link 101 project from the Indiana Department of Transportation is meant “to evaluate alternatives for an improved State Road 101 connection between the Markland Dam and US 50,” according to the project’s frequently asked questions.
The project states the “current routes are winding, making them ineffective for travel and freight movement.”
While the project’s start is years away, 10 alternative routes were proposed. Many of them would go through land where people live.
One of the proposed routes goes directly through Johnny Geyer’s property, from the tip of his barn straight through his driveway.
“My house won’t be here,” Geyer said. “You don’t sleep, you don’t eat, you don’t know what to tell your kids.”
It’s a sentiment that Geyer’s neighbors can relate with. More than 150 people attended a rally in opposition of the project Saturday in Aurora. They sold shirts and distributed yard signs stating “Farms not Freight” and “Homesteads not Highways.”
Stephen Otte spoke at the rally and sent a public comment to the project’s team.
“It’s going to disturb everything that we hold and value in this community,” he said. “This community has spoken up, and we don’t feel like they’re listening to us. We feel that we’re getting the same generic responses.”
In an email to WCPO 9 News, a spokesperson for the project team acknowledged that some in the community were anxious: “we don’t have that level of detailed information at this early phase of the project.”
“It is still very early in the process and no decisions have been made,” the spokesperson said. Members of the community are invited to share feedback at Link101Corridor.com.
Three of the proposed routes will cut through Todd Steinke’s property. He said members of the community were frustrated by Project 101 asking for feedback on the alternative routes, without providing an option not to build a roadway at all.
A spokesperson said a no-build option will be taken into consideration during the analysis phase: “As we reach a smaller group of alternatives for detailed analysis, analyzing a no-build alternative is part of the baseline for comparing alternatives.”
In the meantime, Geyer said the community sticking together is the best path forward for those opposed to the project.
“That’s the only choice we got really,” he said.