Chesterton Tribune

Flood prone intersection in National Lakeshore to get federal fix

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The notoriously flood-prone intersection of East State Park Road and Beverly Drive in Beverly Shores is in the pipeline to get a federal fix.

National Park Service (NPS) spokesperson Lynda Lancaster told the Chesterton Tribune on Monday that the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) has approved the construction of a “causeway” of sorts to lift East State Park Road, also known as Kemil Road.

Originally built on peat, the roadway is sinking below the grade of the wetlands on either side of it, Lancaster said. Water generally flows from east to west and from north to south in that area and “it’s just going to the lowest point.”

Also slated for construction: culverts and drainage tiles beneath Beverly Drive to improve the flow of water to the east of the intersection.

Funding for the estimated $1.2 million project has been authorized and “it should be going out to bid soon,” Lancaster said. “We’re hoping it’s done in the fall. There’s been no indication that it won’t be done.”

Generally speaking, Lancaster noted, NPS does not maintain roadways which it doesn’t own, and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has “offered that opportunity” to the Town of Beverly Shores. “If they want us to take care of the roads, they need to be our own roads.” The Beverly Shores Town Council, however, has not “been interested” in turning over any of its roadways to NPS.

But FHA does “have the authority to do work on roads which lead to national park sites,” as East State Park Road does to Kemil and Lakeview beaches, for example, and to the Dune Ridge Trail, accessed from the Kemil Beach parking lot.

The causeway project, Lancaster added, “has been four to five years in the process, from identifying the issue to the point at which the contract will be bid.”

Beverly Shores Town Council Member Geof Benson has been instrumental in that process, Lancaster said.

Benson was not available for comment.

 

Posted 7/26/2011