Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Chamber to host HHIC Annual Luncheon

Posted: Friday, September 17, 2010

For the last 28 years, at breakfast tables and Rotary and Chamber luncheons throughout the Wabash Valley, the one question inevitably asked was: Will the Hoosier Heartland Highway ever be built?

The question being asked today at these gatherings is: When will the Highway be open for traffic?  We have an answer.

On Friday, October 8, 2010, Senator Dan Coats will be joining local elected, civic, and business leaders at the 28th Annual Meeting of the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor, Inc. (HHIC). This year’s annual meeting will be hosted by the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce at the Habecker Dining Commons on the campus of Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana.  Plans call for the luncheon meeting to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  In addition to Senator Dan Coats, Larry Ingraham with the Sagamore Institute will provide his views on how important being connected to the global economy is to local development.

Huntington Mayor Steve Updike indicated, “A project like the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor only occurs once every couple of generations. Traveling the Wabash Valley will simply be safer once the highway is completed.”

Construction on the Hoosier Heartland Highway is continuing at a record pace.  The highway - the dream of local civic leaders from Wabash, Indiana - is now under construction throughout the entire length of the corridor, which today runs from Lafayette, Indiana, to Toledo, Ohio. Wabash Mayor Robert Vanlandingham stated, “We take pride in the fact that our community kept the light burning on the importance of finishing this highway project.”

Today, the Heartland Highway is designated by Congress as Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) High Priority Corridor 4.  Segments of this bi-state Corridor are either under construction or have been completed.  For over two decades, the political leadership of the Wabash Valley has worked toward the goal of completing the Corridor.

Peru Mayor Jim Walker pointed out, "Upon completion of the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor, all of the communities along its route will see improved economic benefits including the creation of new jobs and better opportunities for the citizens that live there."

Delphi Mayor Randy Strasser indicated, “For Delphi, Indiana, the future of our community rests on completing the Heartland Highway.  For the last few years, our community has focused its energies on preparing for the future and not dwelling on the past. The key to our economic development strategy is making sure that the Hoosier Heartland Corridor is completed on schedule.”

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski declared, “The Hoosier Heartland Highway will connect the City of Lafayette to the regional and national economies of the upper Great Lakes.  The establishment of a limited access four-lane highway linking the cities in the Wabash Valley with the rural communities they serve is essential to the region’s future long-term economic growth.  This highway will provide a safe and efficient transportation platform for not only goods and services, but for regional traffic attending university events in West Lafayette.”

Logansport Mayor Mike Fincher agreed, “Building this vital highway corridor helps regional and local businesses and industries create jobs, in addition to providing a safe highway to travel on.  For me, this isn’t about just building a highway, it’s about establishing the necessary infrastructure to allow the next generation of my community to find jobs and stay in Logansport.”

This year’s Hoosier Heartland Highway Industrial Corridor, Inc.’s Annual Meeting is being chaired by Steve Kimmel, Executive Director of the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce. Individuals interested in attending the annual meeting should contact the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce by phone: (260) 356-5300 or email: info@huntington-chamber.com. The cost for this year’s annual meeting is $35 per person and corporate tables of eight are available for $325.  Registration information for the annual meeting can be found on the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce website: http://huntingtoncountychamber.com.

Francis Jaquay is this year’s Chairman of the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor, Inc.  “It is the goal of this generation of HHIC leadership to leave a legacy of a safe and completed 4-lane highway for the future,” Francis Jaquay said.  “The highway will provide greater access to education, provide safer mobility throughout the region, and bring jobs to the communities along the Corridor, making it possible for future generations to stay within their communities.”

Additional information about the Heartland Highway can be found on the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor, Inc.’s website http://www.hhicinc.com. Additional information on Huntington University can be found at their website: http://www.huntington.edu/.

History

In January of 1982, the Indiana Department of Highways (INDOH) began the development of a long-range state highway plan covering the period from 1985 to 2005. As part of this process, the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor, Inc., working with the Indiana General Assembly and the INDOH, helped enact House Bill 1700 to study the feasibility of building the Heartland Highway. This bill led to the 1987 study which established the baseline for completing the Highway.  The INDOH has since transitioned into the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).

The Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor, Inc.’s organization is one of the oldest cross county economic development groups in Indiana. Since the early 1980’s the bi-partisan coalition has promoted the construction of a 4-lane, limited access, highway to connect the Wabash Valley to the regional and national economy. It is the goal of the HHIC leadership to leave a legacy of a safe, completed 4-lane divided highway for the future.

The bridges over the Wabash were started in 1991. The Fort Wayne bypass was opened in late 1995.  The Logansport to Peru segment was opened in 1999.  The Huntington to Wabash segment of the Corridor was opened in 2000.

The Fort to Port segments of Corridor 4 in Indiana and Ohio are now under construction and will be open to traffic by late 2012 or early 2013. The Lafayette to Logansport segment of the Corridor is scheduled to be open to traffic by late 2013. This will leave only section 7, outlined in the original INDOH study, to be finished.

Today, the HHIC is positioned to realize the completion of this highway.