EAST CHICAGO | The former Cline Avenue bridge is now in the hands of a private company that plans to turn it into a private toll bridge, state officials announced early Tuesday.
The Indiana Department of Transportation and the city of East Chicago in 2012 transferred the right of way to Cline Avenue Bridge LLC, a team from United Bridge Partners of American Infrastructure MLP Funds, FIGG Bridge Cos. and Lane Construction Corp.
The group plans to build a new toll bridge with private funds.
As part of the deal, sections of Cline Avenue connecting the new bridge will receive about $3 million in resurfacing and paving work.
The new bridge will feature a non-stop, all-electronic toll collection system, INDOT representatives said in a statement issued Tuesday. Transponders already used for regional toll systems will be used as well as a "pay by plate" system that will send a bill to drivers without transponders based on license plate information.
"United Bridge Partners is excited to be a part of the East Chicago community," said Bob Hellman, chairman of United Bridge Partners and CEO of American Infrastructure MLP Funds, in a statement issued Tuesday. "We look forward to providing a remarkable new modern bridge that is a solution to traffic congestion and will lead to a growth in jobs and opportunity for people and businesses throughout the region."
Cline Avenue Bridge LLC representatives are performing land surveys, design and traffic studies. Permit application materials are also being prepared and assembled for regulatory agencies.
Once permitting is completed, bridge construction is anticipated to last anywhere from two to 2 1/2 years, INDOT representatives said.