Chesterton Tribune

Three trail routes through town on the table with the costliest at $6.5M

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By KEVIN NEVERS

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 Resistance.”

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.

Taste of Chesterton

•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 nature.

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.

Interurban Hybrid

•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 Resistance

•It would enter the town at 15th Street and continue southbound to West Porter Ave.

•East on West Porter Ave. to 11th Street, then south on 11th Street to 1100N.

•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.

Scoring

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 Resistance,” 14.

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.

 

 

 

Posted 4/19/2012