It would cost at least $4.176 million to build the Dunes-Kankakee Trail
through the Town of Chesterton.
It could cost as much as $6.5 million.
As SEH consultant Gregg Calpino told about a dozen Dunelanders at a meeting
Wednesday night, the cost will depend on which of three alternative routes
is chosen—and which variant of the route is finally built.
The candidates: “Taste of Chesterton,” the longest and potentially most
expensive of the three; “Interurban Hybrid”; and “Trail of Least
The cost of each depends not only on the length but more important, Calpino
said, on the degree to which infrastructure will have to be installed or
re-located or both.
•It would enter Chesterton on southbound North 15th Street.
•Just north of the new municipal facility, it would veer left onto an
abandoned railroad right-of-way and continue eastbound to Eighth Street.
•Southbound on Eighth Street to Broadway, then east to Fourth Street.
•Southbound on Fourth Street to West Indiana Ave., then east to South
Calumet Road. (A spur at this point could lead from East Indiana Ave. to
Lois Lane and Coffee Creek Park beyond).
•Southbound on South Calumet Road to 100E, continue southbound to Rail Road.
•Eastbound on Rail Road—passing beneath Ind. 49—to Kelle Drive.
•Southbound on Kelle Drive to Sidewalk Road, through Morgan’s Corner in
Coffee Creek Center, to C.R. 200E.
•Southbound on C.R. 200E to a NIPSCO utility corridor, then southwest to
Ind. 49 and the town’s southernmost corporate limit.
Calpino noted that the “Taste of Chesterton” exposes bicyclists to a “little
bit of everything” in town: restaurants, businesses, neighborhoods, and
But there is one great challenge: Broadway, a heavily used, “urbanized”
roadway. Retrofitting Broadway to include a dedicated bike path—along the
north side—would be very expensive, for a total cost of around $1 million
per mile, times 6.5 miles, Calpino said.
Two variants could bring the cost down. The first would be not to
build a dedicated, buffered bike path along Broadway and instead simply to
paint path lines. This would reduce the total cost of the route to around
$700,000 per mile or $4.55 million.
The second variant would be to ignore Broadway entirely and shunt the path
north on Eighth Street to Wabash Ave., then east on Wabash Ave. to North
Calumet Road, then south. This would reduce the cost to $850,000 per mile
and distance to 6.1 miles, for a total cost of $5.185 million.
The general consensus of attendees that the Broadway route is less
preferable than the Wabash Ave. variant.
•From Ind. 49 overland west to Frontage Road, then overland again beneath
I-94, then overland east to North Calumet Road.
•Southbound on North Calumet Road to the wooded area of Coffee Creek at the
southeast intersection of North Calumet Road and Indian Boundary Road.
•The trail would be constructed through the woods and into Coffee Creek
Park, until debouching on South Calumet Road.
•Southbound on South Calumet Road, to take the same route into and through
Coffee Creek Center, to C.R. 200E, to the NIPSCO utility corridor, and then
to Ind. 49.
Here, Calpino said, the main challenge would be the acquisition of
right-of-way needed to construct the trail. Estimated cost: $1 million per
mile, times 6.1 miles, for a total cost of $6.1 million.
A variant to reduce the cost would be to use the Wabash Ave. route—as in the
Taste of Chesterton—to North Calumet Road, then from that point to enter the
Coffee Creek Park area. This would reduce the cost to $780,000 per mile and
distance to 6.1 miles, for a total cost of $4.758 million.
Calpino did note that this route would expose bicyclists to a lot of nature
but not so much to Downtown business.
Trail of Least
•It would enter the town at 15th Street and continue southbound to West
•East on West Porter Ave. to 11th Street, then south on 11th Street to
•East on 1100N to 100E, south on 100E to Rail Road.
•East on Rail Road to Kelle Drive, south on Kelle Drive to Village Pointe.
•South on Village Pointe to Gateway Blvd., then west to Ind. 49.
The main advantage of this route is its cost, estimated at only $720,000 per
mile, times a distance of 5.8 miles, for a total cost of $4.176 million, the
least expensive of all the alternatives and their variants.
The disadvantage, Calpino said, is that is bypasses nearly everything of
interest in the Town of Chesterton.
Using a combination of factors—including economic benefits, safety, visitor
experience, education, cost effectiveness, amenities, and trailheads—the
alternative which scored the best was “Taste of Chesterton,” with a score of
22 to 20; then “Interurban Hybrid,” 20 to 19; and finally “Trail of Least
Sometime this summer, Calpino said, SEH of Indiana will submit a draft
master plan to the town for its consideration.
When completed, the Dunes-Kankakee Trail will link Indiana Dunes State Park
to the Kankakee River near Hebron.