Hobart council gives green light to Illiana plan

2013-12-04T21:38:00Z 2013-12-04T22:15:58Z Hobart council gives green light to Illiana planDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | The Hobart City Council weighed in Wednesday on the proposed Illiana Expressway.

The council, in a unanimous 7-0 vote, agreed to support including the Illiana Expressway in the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission's 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan.

City Councilman David Vinzant, D-4th, asked the plan be added to the City Council agenda and called for the vote.

Vinzant said the backing by the council is something Mayor Brian Snedecor could take with him to the NIRPC board when it takes its vote.

The NIRPC board, which Snedecor serves on as a vice chairman, will vote Dec. 12 whether or not the Illiana Expressway should be included in its regional plan.

"They are looking at both positives and negatives," said City Councilman John Brezik, D-5th.

The council also approved including in the Illiana 2040 plan the Interstate 65 expansion.

Snedecor said under that part of the plan, Interstate 65 would be expanded to three lanes in both directions starting at U.S. 30 and ending at Ind. 231.

Snedecor said Hobart officials are backing Illiana for a number of reasons including the jobs it will create and traffic congestion it will improve.

"We've had some substantial accidents on Interstate 65 involving trucks," Snedecor said.

The Illiana Expressway would run 47 miles from Interstate 65 in Indiana, with an interchange just south of the 153rd Street overpass, to Interstate 55 in Illinois.

In other business, resident Larry Brown took officials to task for the investment six years ago of $6 million by taxpayers into the yet to be developed Silverstone Crossing north of U.S. 30 and east of Mississippi Street.

Brown called for the resignation or firing of any elected or appointed officials involved with approving the commercial project.

City Attorney Anthony DeBonis said Brown didn't have all his facts straight and told him the project has been tied up in the courts for the past two to three years.

DeBonis said unfortunately the project, approved in 2008, came out at a time that economic development was at a decline and couldn't go forward.

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