By KEVIN NEVERS
C.R. 100E is officially and finally linked to Dickinson Road, with the Lake
Erie Land Company’s recent completion of Rail Road, Duneland’s only
non-grade crossing of Ind. 49.
And a motorist would be unlikely to find an easier or safer way to pass
between east and west Chesterton.
Built along the abandoned Wabash Rail right-of-way, the underpass portion of
Rail Road has been in service for several months but until recently it
dead-ended at Kelle Drive—immediately north and east of the Steel Family
Health Care Center—while crews were installing a bridge over Coffee Creek.
Rail Road now terminates at Dickinson Road in a traffic circle, or what the
English commonly call a roundabout, a device intended to circulate vehicles
smoothly between intersecting roadways. Eastbound motorists must proceed
from a stop sign before taking their turn around the circle in a
Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg told the Chesterton Tribune
today that the purpose of the stop sign is to slow eastbound traffic before
it enters the circle as it descends from a steep grade at the bridge.
Rail Road’s two lanes are flanked on its south side by a sidewalk wide
enough to accommodate both bicyclists and pedestrians.
In a statement released last week, LEL President Jerry Mobley said that Lake
Erie Land spent $1.2 million to complete Rail Road in a project made
possible by a “coalition formed by many individuals, the Town of Chesterton
and its staff, property owners, and LEL.”
While town officials and community leaders had for years contemplated the
idea of an underpass along the old right-of-way, the statement said, that
idea proved unfeasible until Lake Erie Land and the Town of Chesterton
struck an annexation agreement.
“The window of opportunity was rapidly closing due to development on both
sides of Ind. 49,” noted Mobley. “Lake Erie worked with a local firm to help
acquire the easements on the east side of 49 and we proceeded with the
engineering, permitting, and selling our ideas to the town.”