VALPARAISO | The questions a lot of Valparaiso residents don't really want to know the answer to — Where's the next roundabout going to be built? — will be answered in the next couple of months.
The city's Redevelopment Commission approved funding Wednesday with DLZ for the design of a roundabout at the Silhavy Road/LaPorte Avenue intersection. The first phase of the contract is a feasibility study to see if a roundabout is the best solution for the heavily traveled crossing.
"I'm feeling good about that possibility," City Engineering Director Tim Burkman told the commission.
Michael Jabo, of DLZ, said several design options will be looked at for what probably would be a two-lane roundabout similar to the one at the five-points intersection at North Calumet Avenue, Vale Park Road and Roosevelt Road that was opened at Thanksgiving.
Jabo said one of the biggest challenges will be keeping the roads open to traffic during construction. While the five-points project had some closings, convenient alternate routes were available for vehicles. Only the north leg of the Silhavy/LaPorte roundabout would have that option, he said.
Whatever design is determined to be the most feasible, the total contract is for $368,465. Another $67,000 in hourly work for right of way and other services might also be required. Construction and right of way acquisition is estimated to cost $2.5 million.
Burkman said the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission approved the project to be eligible for federal Surface Transportation Program funding for 80 percent of all but the engineering design costs, which the city must pay itself. The Redevelopment Commission has budgeted it over the next two years.
The project is tentatively set for awarding construction contracts in May 2016 with construction going through the fall.
"That intersection is a nightmare, and any improvement we could make would be great," Councilman Jan Dick said. Dick is one of two councilmen on the commission along with Tim Daly.
The feasibility study is expected to begin by the end of the month. The contract is expected to be approved soon by the city's Board of Public Works and Safety.