Eliminating Calumet Ave. gridlock takes another step forward

2013-07-24T00:00:00Z 2014-04-24T13:15:26Z Eliminating Calumet Ave. gridlock takes another step forwardLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

MUNSTER | Preliminary design and final engineering reports are on schedule for the underpass/overpass project at Calumet Avenue and realignment of 45th Street in Munster.

Munster Town Council members voted unanimously Monday to fund 20 percent of the $3,458,004 paid to Robinson Engineering of South Holland for that work. The town’s share is $691,600.80 to be paid out from 2013 to 2015.

Money from the state’s Major Moves allocation and Munster’s portion of the Indiana Motor Vehicle Highway allocation will fund that 20 percent, said Town Manager Tom DeGiulio.

The project already has federal backing, some financing from the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission and money being set aside from Munster’s tax increment financing district redevelopment fund, DeGiulio said.

This grade separation project will create a two-bridge overpass for Canadian National trains and an underpass for cars to break the traffic gridlock at Calumet Avenue and 45th Street.

That problem “is getting worse. It’s an absolute nightmare,” Council President Joe Simonetto said.

Joe Nordman, senior project manager with Robinson Engineering of South Holland, said the engineering and design work will be broken into two phases.

The first phase includes an environmental document and geotechnical borings for both train overpass bridges as well as 45th Street and Calumet Avenue. Design engineering for the entire project and appraisals of the property where the structures will be built are also part of this phase, Nordman said.

“The environmental document will treat all parcels as they are now,” he said.

The second phase will include all remaining work on the bridge design for Calumet Avenue.

A preliminary plan for the bike path and crossings has been added to the overall plan and will be presented to Mitch Barloga, a planner at the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, for comments, Nordman said.

To meet Indiana Department of Transportation guidelines, the small triangle of the bike path north of 45th Street needs to be closed immediately “to eliminate any concerns that the north end of the existing Centennial Park is being used as public land,” he said.

“We need to sit down with the environmental person at INDOT and will have a better answer on this by the end of the week,” Nordman told the council.

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