SCHERERVILLE — About 100 people gathered in the Schererville Town Hall Wednesday night for a presentation on the Kennedy Avenue Expansion — a project that has been in the works for decades.
According to Times' archives, a 1983 study revealed the need for an expansion, an idea that received some pushback from residents and was ultimately put on the back burner.
Since then, the town has discussed the expansion a number of times. Stretching from Main Street to U.S. 30, the long-awaited project involves the widening and reconstruction of about 2.46 miles of Kennedy Avenue. It will be completed in four phases, with phase one slated to start in the fall of 2024.
The project includes extending Kennedy Avenue to U.S. 30, widening Kennedy Avenue from two to four lanes between Main Street and U.S. 30 and adding several turn lanes.
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Trisha Nugent, project manager with DLZ Indiana, LLC said the entire project is expected to cost just over $48 million. Federal funding will cover 80% of the expansion, the town of Schererville will cover the remaining 20%.
Phase one will be funded through the Indiana Department of Transportation's Local Trax grant program. It will encompass about 4 acres between Division Street and Scherland Drive and will include the installation of a bridge over both the Canadian National and Norfolk Southern Railroad crossings. Nugent said the design of phase two is about 40% complete and will include just under 13 acres. Phases three and four will involve a collective 17 1/2 acres. Nugent estimated the construction of phase four will be completed in 2026.
"Many of you have been caught at the railroad tracks when you are trying to get somewhere, so that is one of the key components to this project. Another is to address system linkages and that is just a fancy way of saying that we are trying to connect the dots. There is not a lot of great north-south connectors other than 41 in this area," Nugent said.
The installation of storm sewers, roadway culverts and swales will help improve drainage and stormwater management in the area as well.
Only a few people spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. They expressed concerns about the displacement of both Pete's RV Center, which sits at 500 W. Lincoln Highway, and the Tri-Town Raiders Pop Warner football field, located at 1200 Kennedy Ave.
"This is going to displace about 150 kids in that location," said Tri-Town Raiders President Rudy Monterrubio. "I am not sure if Schererville has another location for those kids to go."
All public comment submitted before May 2 will be included in the projects' environmental document. Comments can be mailed to 900 Ridge Road, Suite L Munster, IN 46321 or emailed to KennedyEA@dlz.com.