Chesterton Tribune

Dickinson Road planners should look carefully for best route

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Voice of the People

I attended the April 10 meeting of the Redevelopment Commission when Town Engineer Mark O’Dell presented a “Flow Chart” for a local Road and Street project utilizing Federal Highway Funds. The commission was very appreciative of the work done and, reviewing it after the meeting, I concur. It is a very detailed chart that should be posted on the wall in the town hall so the residents can see how involved any project can be and why it takes so long. Mr. O’Dell is to be commended for the research he did in conjunction with the Local Road and Street division of INDOT

However in examining the chart I noticed that acquiring additional right of way for the Dickinson Road extension was not at the beginning of the chart and for a good reason. After a Corridor Study and public hearings the Federal Highway may decide that Sand Creek Drive is not the best connection and thus would not be eligible for construction funds. The other potential locations would be Council Drive or Brummitt Road.

In any event both the Sand Creek location as well as the Council Drive location would be subject to the vertical and horizontal clearance requirements as required by state law

IC 8-8-1-11 and 12 states the minimum vertical clearance for new structures is 22 feet from the top of the rail to the lowest part of the structure and 8 feet horizontally. Add 3 or 4 feet from the bottom of the overpass to the roadway and you would have a very steep grade to meet the Michael Drive intersection. Go beyond that and you jeopardize the residential property values of Duneland Cove and Olde Town.

Council Drive on the other hand offers no residential development from the back of K-mart and the motel to the tracks. It also offers an additional thousand or twelve hundred feet to utilize for a flatter grade to meet ground level. Council Drive is directly in line with Dickinson Road with no required curvature as is the case of Sand Creek Drive. Grade crossings are prohibitive since the railroads park trains on the tracks at night.

Brummitt Road connecting to CR250 E although outside the corporate limits is worth studying. It runs from just North of U.S. 6 with already established signalized grade crossings and overpasses over the toll road as well as I-94 to US 20. It also runs along the East property of Sand Creek subdivision. Sand Creek and Council Drive dead end just north of Indian Boundary at the East fork of the Little Calumet.

Add to that the requirements for applying for Federal Aid through NIRPC, which are very involved (, link to 2007-2011 Transit and Highway TIP information) and you have more delay.

Our Town engineer has given us a valuable tool in proceeding for a North-South arterial wherever it may be located. I hope the officials involved put the right of way acquisition step in the middle of the flow chart where it belongs and start with step one plus cooperating with NIRPC and the County Commissioners who are responsible for the maintenance of all bridges inside and outside the corporate limits of cities and towns, excluding State Highways.

Joe Harrison, P.E.


Posted 4/17/2006