LaPorte County Courthouse

The LaPorte County Courthouse in downtown LaPorte is the only courthouse in Indiana made of red sandstone. Look closely at the building, and you'll find some of its 45 gargoyles.

Doug Ross, The Times

All of the more than $500,000 in state road funding awarded this year to LaPorte County government is going toward resurfacing the main artery to LaPorte and Michigan City.

The $568,000 in Community Crossings grant funding is being applied to Johnson Road from U.S 35 to U.S 20.

An equal sum from the county to leverage those dollars means close to a $1.2 million investment.

The current surface on the eight-mile stretch of two lane roadway will be removed and replaced with new asphalt, said Rich Mrozinski, president of the LaPorte County commissioners.

The road will also be restriped to improve vision on what can be a difficult road to see, especially at night.

Mrozinski said Johnson Road, being heavily traveled and the main route to and from the county's largest cities, justifies the decision.

He anticipates the work occurring next spring.

"It’ll be nice," he said.

Mrozinski said the plan is to keep one lane open in each direction during the resurfacing to minimize back-ups as much as possible, especially during the morning and evening rush hours.

"Find a different route once they start paving," Mrozinski advised. He noted the commissioners, under different leadership in 2016, chose not to apply for the state revenue sharing dollars.

Under the state program created in 2016, counties with population less than a 50,000, along with cities and towns with under 10,000 people, must provide a 25-percent local match to receive 75 percent funding from the state. Everyone else has to come up with a 50-percent match to receive an equal sum in return.

State Rep. Jim Pressel, R-Rolling Prairie, said a 10-cent hike in the state’s gasoline tax along with an increase in vehicle registration fees generates $1.2 billion annually for roads and bridges statewide. Of that, $300,000 goes into the Community Crossings program for local transportation projects.

"If you’re going to put a million dollars into roadwork in LaPorte County, why wouldn’t you want to double your resources," Pressel said.

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