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Cline Avenue Bridge project shut down, workers laid off, union official says
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Cline Avenue Bridge project shut down, workers laid off, union official says

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The new Cline Avenue Bridge in East Chicago passed the half-way point of its construction earlier this year. The project has been temporarily shut down workers laid off, according to union officials.

EAST CHICAGO — Construction crews have halted work on the new Cline Avenue Bridge, according to a union leader representing the iron workers, carpenters and concrete smoothers working on the project.

"The job is shut down," said Randy Palmateer, business manager for the Northwestern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council.

He said management issues on the project have sent as many as 80 union workers in his council off the job. 

"It's a big project, a good project. I hope they get everything worked out," Palmateer said.

Representatives of bridge owner United Bridge Partners and bridge contractor Figg Bridge Group did not immediately respond to requests for an explanation for the reported project shutdown.

Replacing the bridge has faced roadblocks and challenges for years.

The bridge was closed in 2009 and later condemned that same year when major structural deficiencies were uncovered by state transportation officials.

After years of political wrangling, construction work finally began in June 2017 to replace the 1.7-mile bridge, which crosses the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal in East Chicago. Cline Avenue Bridge officials recently said it was on track for completion this year.

The $100 million-plus project would reconnect Indian 912 to Interstate 90 and serve as “The Gateway of Lake County,” according to its developer.

Plans call for the private toll bridge to charge a two-axle vehicle with a transponder $2.25. Vehicles with more axles will pay $4.94. Ten cents of each toll will go to East Chicago. United Bridge Partners anticipates about 10,000 vehicles will use the bridge on an average day.

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