EDITORIAL: Cline Avenue needs more than patches

2014-01-07T00:00:00Z 2014-01-12T08:59:03Z EDITORIAL: Cline Avenue needs more than patches nwitimes.com
January 07, 2014 12:00 am  • 

We give the snowplow drivers from the Indiana Department of Transportation and elsewhere credit for their efforts in clearing this massive amount of snow, especially with the extreme cold and high winds. This was no minor snowstorm.

Once the roads are all cleared, however, INDOT needs to address potholes.

Even before this storm, some of the region's roads already showed they have been taking a beating.

Nowhere is that more clear than on Cline Avenue, which has some of the worst potholes around.

"It's a minefield up there," reader Ken Shields said about the stretch of Cline north of the Borman Expressway.

Shields, of Schererville, has had to replace a windshield and do three repairs because of pavement and gravel kicked up by trucks and cars on Cline.

He was one of more than two dozen Times readers who responded quickly to a Facebook request about Cline. Each told of car repairs because of the conditions on Cline, including blown tires, axle damage and alignments failing.

Lake County Sheriff John Buncich is no fan of that stretch of road, either. "There will be nights when it's just a nightmare out there, especially when the weather is bad, he said. "It just wasn't built properly, and it's not maintained properly."

It's the maintenance that is the real issue.

Even INDOT acknowledges this. Spokesman Matt Deitchley said maintenance crews have put more than 50 tons of patching mix on Cline to fill potholes and smooth out the ride. But the weather and traffic are hard on that road.

Rieth Riley Construction, of Goshen, was awarded a $7.3 million contract in October for repaving Cline between the Borman and Columbus Drive and to rehabilitate the bridge over Gary Avenue, Deitchley said. That work is scheduled to begin this spring.

Drivers in Northwest Indiana are concerned about the conditions on Cline right now, but they're also concerned about what happens when the missing link — the section of bridge condemned and since destroyed — is finally replaced. Work is scheduled to begin this spring.

We realize it will take time to build the new bridge. But in the meantime, get the rest of the road up to par.

Patch those potholes, and hasten the repaving on that stretch of condition when that kind of seasonal work can be done. Then do some engineering work on how to make that road safer.

Drivers on Cline Avenue have suffered enough already.

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