VALPARAISO | Valparaiso has received almost $100 million in state and federal grants over the past 10 years, and it is hoping to get another $10 million approved in the next few months.
Stuart Summers, Redevelopment Commission executive director, said 12 staff members and a couple of volunteers from the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, worked last week to meet a deadline for Highway Safety Improvement Program and the Surface Transportation Program applications for funding for six separate projects.
Although the city is seeking approval this year, the money probably won't be available until 2016.
The projects included:
- $4.2 million from STP. Local match $2 million from the redevelopment commission. The project would improve Vale Park Road between the roundabouts at Silhavy Road and Roosevelt Road (five-points) from a country road to an urban street with a pathway and the addition of left and right turn lanes where traffic is impeded. The improvements would upgrade the capacity of the road that has become a major east-west corridor with the addition of the interchange at Ind. 49.
- $2.256 million from STP. Local match $863,000 from redevelopment. The project would convert the intersection at Silhavy and LaPorte Avenue into a two-lane roundabout. In addition to improving safety, it also will have new facilities for pedestrian and bicycle crossings. The proposed Dunes-Kankakee Trail is expected to follow Silhavy from Vale Park or Burlington Beach Road south to U.S. 30.
- $319,500 from the HSIP. Local match is $35,000 from the city's share of the state local roads and streets money. The project would enhance the safety on the section of Ransom Road west of Goodrich Road. The section has been the site of many accidents because of the low visibility and narrow pavement. Also, the pathway that ends at Lake Meadow Drive would be extended to Goodrich.
- $249,6000 from STP. Local match is $68,400. These funds are for improving signs and pedestrian signals to benefit elderly drivers and vision impaired pedestrians on the city's federally eligible roads. Audio pedestrian signals - "cuckoo" for north/south traffic and "chirp" for east/west traffic - will be added to 14 signals, and internally lit street signs will be placed at 15 locations.
- $111,215 from HSIP. Local share is $15,000. The city has 732 regulatory signs that need to be upgraded to meet federal reflectivity standards.
- $2.7 million from STP. Local share $1.363 million from redevelopment. The project would realign Silhavy south of Menards at Boilermaker Court to turn west behind the Home Depot through to Sturdy Road across from the entrance to Valparaiso University. The goal is to relieve congestion at U.S. 30 and Strongbow Centre Drive. The road would include a pathway link to the Dunes-Kankakee Trail on Silhavy.
The applications first go through the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, which give an initial review Wednesday. Those that pass muster will be forwarded to the NIRPC Transportation Policy Committee before final approval by the executive board.
That approval process takes 90 to 120 days with the goal of getting as many as possible included in the region's transportation improvement program for spending state and federal funds. The federal funding for any of them would be part of the 2016 fiscal year, which begins in October 2015.