CROWN POINT | A picnic shelter and paved parking lot could be added before year's end to the Summit Street entrance to the Erie Lackawanna bike trail in Crown Point.
Bids are expected to be let in August to construct a trailhead at the site, said Matt Deitchley, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation LaPorte District, which is overseeing the project.
Plans for the project are in final review by the department, Deitchley said.
A summer start of work could mean completion by the end of the year, said Jake Dammarell, of Butler Fairman Seufert, the firm hired by the city to design the trailhead.
Planned at the site, on the north side of Summit Street just west of Main Street, are a red-roofed shelter surrounded by grass and trees, a portable restroom, and a paved lot with space for 20 cars to replace existing bare-ground parking.
The work may be paid using a combination of federal funds and local redevelopment dollars already earmarked by the city. A cost estimate hasn't been provided.
Officials began planning the trailhead — an entry or exit point with amenities — early last year. Federal transportation enhancement program funds totaling $634,000 were in place for the project.
An agreement was reached in December between the city and NIPSCO for rights of way to property near the bike path Summit Street entrance.
A second round of enhancements to the trail is planned for an access point at 93rd Avenue and Chase Street in Crown Point, just west of the Lake County Government Complex.
That work is to include a roundabout, or circular intersection. An early concept placed the roundabout on the north side of 93rd Avenue just east of Chase Street, replacing an existing sharp turn where the streets intersect.
Funding from the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement program was expected to cover 75 percent of the cost of the roundabout. City redevelopment dollars were earmarked for matching funds.
The new design is intended to improve traffic safety at the intersection and make it easier to get onto the bike trail there. A sidewalk along 93rd Avenue from Chase to Main streets is part of the plan.
The 93rd Avenue/Chase Street improvements aren't expected to begin until next year. No cost estimate was available.
The improvements follow the 2010 opening of the nearly two-mile Crown Point extension of the Erie Lackawanna trail.
The full trail extends through Schererville, Highland, Griffith and Hammond.