Benjamin Lanka, The Journal Gazette

blanka@jg.net

Rush hour on Interstate 69 can often be a mess. Thousands of vehicles pour onto the north-south expressway to get to and from work, slowing speeds and making passing difficult.

Yet the commute on Fort Wayne's other interstate - I-469, just a few miles east - is a different story. Lanes are typically free of congestion, and save for the occasional 18-wheeler, driving at or above the 70 mph limit is fairly simple throughout the day.

Twenty years after the first segment opened - the entire highway was completed in 1995 - Interstate 469's traffic counts lag far behind those of I-69 and many other major area thoroughfares. Fort Wayne drivers, it appears, choose to bypass the bypass, even though it is the most expensive public works project in Allen County's history, with a price tag of $207 million.

John Stafford, director of the Community Research Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, said one of the main reasons the road isn't heavily traveled is because it doesn't include a lot of destinations.

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