NIRPC group told Cline Ave. demolition near complete

2012-12-11T15:00:00Z 2012-12-13T13:35:03Z NIRPC group told Cline Ave. demolition near completeBy Keith Benman, (219) 933-3326

The demolition of the condemned Cline Avenue Bridge remains on track and the Indiana Department of Transportation expects the bridge to be down by the end of this month, according to INDOT spokesman Jim Pinkerton.

Walsh Construction, of Crown Point, won the $8.93 million contract to demolish the bridge one year ago and work on bringing it down has been in full swing through the spring and summer months.

The Transportation Policy Committee of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission was briefed on the bridge demolition Tuesday by Pinkerton at NIRPC headquarters in Portage.

Completion of the demolition work will mark the final demise of the troubled span, which first opened to traffic in 1983. It was condemned by the state in December 2009 when it was found to be gravely weakened.

A bridge building company, United Bridge Partners, concluded agreements earlier this year with the city of East Chicago and the state to build a private toll bridge within the footprint of the demolished bridge. Under those agreements, INDOT has been preparing to transfer the right-of-way for the bridge to United Bridge Partners in a land swap deal.

Pinkerton told the Transportation Policy Committee that INDOT will largely withdraw from the project after the bridge demolition is complete and building the new bridge will become mainly a matter between the city and United Bridge Partners.

NIRPC Data Resources Planner Kevin Garcia told the committee the NIRPC board is expected to vote on new Adjusted Urbanized Area boundary maps for Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties at its meeting on Thursday.

The boundaries determine the amount of federal highway and transit dollars available to Northwest Indiana's urbanized areas. They also determine the areas where some types of federal highway and transit dollars can be spent.

The 2010 census revealed changes in population density and counts for the region, so new maps have to be drawn up and approved.

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