Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Cline Ave bridge plan touted as jobs creation engine

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The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has announced a permanent plan to ease traffic across the Indiana Harbor Canal in the wake of the Cline Avenue bridge closure.

According to Associated General Contractors of America statistics, the aggressive plan is anticipated to generate 2,300 jobs over the next three years and have traffic moving on parts of Cline Ave. again by this fall, INDOT said in a statement released on Thursday.

“After three months of discussing solutions with local stakeholders and implementing short-term measures, INDOT is moving forward with a plan that balances the area’s long-term mobility needs with some of the goals identified in the visionary Marquette Plan,” INDOT Chief of Staff Robert Zier said.

Starting next month, INDOT will begin advertising and bidding contracts that will progressively provide improved access across the Indiana Harbor Canal, while improving the streetscape and environmental condition of roads that connect with major employers and casinos nearby. When completed, it is expected the solution will add no more than three to six minutes of travel time when compared with the previous elevated bridge and highway.

A tentative construction timeline:

•Summer to fall 2010: Rehab an existing ramp bridge to allow alternating one-way traffic, controlled by traffic signals, to enter and exit Cline Avenue at Riley Road. Build temporary ramps to allow traffic to enter and exit Cline Avenue without stopping at Michigan Avenue.

•Fall 2010 to fall 2011: Demolish Cline Avenue mainline and ramps near Riley Road to make way for a new exit ramp from Cline Avenue to Riley Road. The above mentioned alternating traffic pattern would be removed upon completion.

•Summer 2011 to summer 2012: Build four-lane, direct-access ramp from Cline Avenue to Dickey Road.

•Summer 2012 to summer 2013: Demolish remaining sections of Cline Avenue bridge over Indiana Harbor Canal.

“This series of solutions will provide relief quickly for local traffic,” LaPorte District Deputy Commissioner Michael McPhillips added. “Jobs saved or created over the next 36 months will, according to AGC statistics, contribute $240 million to the gross domestic product of Northwest Indiana. That’s a win-win for us all.”

Zier added his optimism that the partnerships formed over the past few months between INDOT and community leaders will help spur greater investment and employment in Northwest Indiana. “We at INDOT are eager to continue this spirit of cooperation to take the improvements and the footprint in this transportation plan to address and realize some of the goals of the Marquette Plan,” he said.

In late December INDOT announced plans to demolish the existing Cline Avenue bridge over the Indiana Harbor Canal due to structural concerns. Officials with INDOT’s Indianapolis and LaPorte offices held numerous meetings and phone calls with Northwest Indiana legislators and leaders of area cities, casinos, steel mills and transportation agencies. After initial meetings identified the need, INDOT quickly installed more than 80 signs and improved signal operation at eight city- and state-maintained intersections to aid traffic diverted by the bridge closure.

For maps and more information about S.R. 912/Cline Avenue detours and alternate routes, please visit www.trafficwise.IN.gov

 or www.borman.IN.gov

 

 

Posted 4/16/2010

 

 

 

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