Dyer considers acquiriing railroad right of way

2012-08-19T17:38:00Z 2012-08-19T21:16:12Z Dyer considers acquiriing railroad right of wayMary Wilds Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 19, 2012 5:38 pm  • 

DYER |  The town has the chance to acquire rail right of way that could someday be turned into a bike path, but details, including cost, have yet to be discussed or finalized.

Norfolk Southern is looking to abandon its rail line in Dyer, Town Administrator Rick Eberly told the Town Council. He and Parks Director Mark Heintz met with Norfolk-Southern officials prior to the meeting.

The railroad will be abandoning 2.3 miles of track in Dyer, between Calumet Avenue and the town line. The company also owns three miles of adjacent track in Illinois, but has not yet announced plans to abandon it.

The right of way would be obtained at a cost, and Dyer would have to follow a petition process to acquire it.

Eberly said he would provide plenty of details at the next council study session, scheduled for Thursday at Town Hall.

Abandoned rail lines are commonly used for bike paths, which Dyer would like to see the Norfolk-Southern line turn into eventually. The line is close enough to the Pennsy Greenway that it would be eligible for federal transportation dollars.

Federal money covers 80 percent of the cost of eligible bike paths, while local communities pay the remaining 20 percent.

When completed, Pennsy Greenway will be a 10-mile path in Indiana, connecting with the remaining five miles of the trail in Illinois. In Indiana it will run through Schererville and Munster and end in Crown Point. Pennsy will connect to the Erie Lackawanna Trail and Veterans Memorial Trail in Crown Point, as well as to the 450-mile Burnham Greenway/Grand Illinois Trail System in Illinois.

The Dyer trail, if built, would connect with Pennsy on its west side.

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