VALPARAISO | The city learned Friday about $2.2 million in federal funds for Silhavy Road/LaPorte Avenue intersection improvements are expected to be approved in the NIRPC 2014-2017 transportation plan.
The plan will be up for approval in July, but the improvements probably won't be ready for construction until 2016, Valparaiso Engineering Director Tim Burkman said. The city's Redevelopment Commission is expected to provide the $863,000 in matching funds for the project.
If NIRPC approves the plan, Burkman said it would take about three months to choose a consultant to begin the preliminary engineering. One of the options to be considered is replacing the intersection with a two-lane roundabout, he said.
The intersection annually ranks among the city's most dangerous. It's had a total of 60 wrecks over the last three years, with the 26 in 2012 ranking it third most dangerous. The high volume of traffic is the main factor in its high number of crashes.
Burkman said one of the things the consultant will look at is the north entrance to Valparaiso Walk shopping center in front of Best Buy. People turning left into the shopping center create backups and accidents, and the city is considering allowing only right turns in and out of the drive.
"This intersection has been on the city's radar as far as needing improvements, and it scored high on the NIRPC criteria (for determining funding eligibility priority)," he said.