VALPARAISO | Bids were opened from three companies and a contract could be awarded soon for the construction of the five-points roundabout at North Calumet Avenue, Roosevelt Road and Vale Park Road.
Walsh and Kelly, who built the city's first roundabout at Lincolnway, LaPorte Avenue and Sturdy Road and the one at Silhavy Road and Vale Park, was the apparent low bidder at $2.27 million. All three were below the engineer's estimate of $2.48 million, and work could start by the end of April or beginning of May.
City Engineering Director Tim Burkman said the next step will be for the city's Redevelopment Commission to approve the local match at its meeting March 20. The city is getting federal funds from two different programs for the project. The city has to match 10 percent of the Highway Safety Improvement Program grant and 20 percent of the Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality grant.
Valparaiso's Utilities Board is paying 20 percent of the cost of installing new water lines through the roundabout, including replacing the original connection to Flint Lake along Calumet. The replacement lines will be bigger and made of ductile iron.
Burkman said NIPSCO already is on-site relocating utilities in preparation for the construction while the Indiana Department of Transportation reviews the bids. After INDOT awards the contract and gets the city's share of the funding, a preconstruction meeting will be held with INDOT, the city and the contractor.
"We are excited about the improvement that this important project will bring to this heavily traveled intersection," Burkman said. "Over the past three years, there have been 61 accidents at this intersection involving 11 personal injuries."
Burkman said the accidents involved head-ons, right angles, disregarding the signal and left turns, all of which will be virtually eliminated with the configuration of the roundabout.
"Experience at the Eastgate roundabout has shown that both travel times and accident severity are significantly reduced with roundabouts," he said. "We look forward to the same improvement at five-points with this project."