WHITING | Indianapolis Boulevard will be repaved from Calumet to Schrage avenues in a $6 million renovation project announced Thursday in Whiting.
The funds for the 1.5 mile repaving project, which is expected to take 15 months, will largely come from state coffers.
Because that stretch of road passes through Hammond and Whiting, both communities with share in the cost of the work.
Hammond will contribute $600,000, and $2.1 million will come from Whiting.
"Combining the work from two cities into one project is going to help us increase our efficiency," Robert Alderman, Indiana Department of Transportation deputy commissioner, told the Whiting/Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.
The road falls within Hammond's boundaries from Calumet Avenue to Atchison Avenue, and in Whiting from Atchison to 121st Street. The road runs along the two boundaries from 121st to Lake George Trail, enters back into Hammond until White Oak Avenue, then back to Whiting to Schrage Avenue.
Indianapolis Boulevard, the primary thoroughfare through the Whiting/Robertsdale area, carries more than 35,000 vehicles a day.
During construction, one lane of Indianapolis Boulevard will remain open to traffic in each direction, but Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura said the city will try to encourage alternate routes.
"The car counts always hurt during construction," Stahura said. "We're going to try to provide a lot of signage to bring traffic down other arteries. We just want to make sure people know there are alternate routes to get downtown."
INDOT will also encourage truck traffic to divert to Calumet Avenue whenever possible.
The project also includes improved sidewalks, widened streets to offer additional parking, and new decorative streetlights.
Chamber leaders had earlier been concerned the project would create major interruptions in access to local business and industry and feared it might interfere with the Whiting Pierogi Fest. That festival, held the end of July, draws more than 300,000 visitors to the city.
Alderman assured business leaders INDOT will require construction to either wait until after Pierogi Fest to start work in Whiting, or be finished before the Fourth of July Parade.
"There are a number of provisions that relate to those two events in the contract for whoever receives the contract," Alderman said.
It's up to the contractor to decide how it will prevent construction from interfering with the summer celebrations, Alderman said.
INDOT will seek bids from contractors April 2. Alderman said construction is expected to start four to six weeks after a contractor is chosen.