Be prepared for a roundabout, intended to calm and control traffic on
Indiana 49, as the new “front door” to the Indiana Dunes.
Porter director of engineering Matt Keiser reported Tuesday that the Indiana
Department of Transportation has approved Porter’s Indiana 49 corridor
feasibility study, released in April, that recommends a roundabout be
installed at a new intersection north of Oak Hill Road to access attractions
for Porter’s planned Gateway to the Indiana Dunes project.
The intersection also would become the main entrance to the Porter County
Another recommendation in the study endorsed by INDOT is designing the
roundabout with features that would facilitate safer truck operations on
Indiana 49; in the alternative an evaluation is recommended to route trucks
through other major arterials to improve efficiency and safety for motorists
on Indiana 49.
Further, the study recommends Indiana 49 be reduced to two lanes from the
proposed roundabout north to the U.S. 12 ramp intersections. That makes room
for the Dunes Kankakee Trail that would parallel Indiana 49 with the highway
also receiving aesthetic enhancements like trailheads, signage, crosswalks,
lighting and landscaping within Porter town limits.
Keiser’s report was to the town’s Redevelopment Commission. After the
meeting he said Gateway consultant SEH will start on concept drawings for
elements of the Indiana 49 reconstruction and establish estimated costs for
In part the Gateway project is being funded with a $19 million grant from
the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. Keiser said INDOT will
want the town, using RDA money, to pay for the Indiana 49 design and
In a related matter, Keiser told the commission the town can start the
process to acquire drainage easements along Munson Ditch in the Gateway
project area. Munson is a regulated Porter County drain but no assessments
were charged so it wasn’t maintained, said Keiser later.
The ditch is a major drain in Porter and, once easements are obtained, would
come under the jurisdiction of the town Stormwater Management Board. Porter
will use an approximately $55,000 Lake Michigan Coastal grant matched with a
like amount in RDA funds for land acquisition and an assessment of the
Tentative plans are to route the Dunes Kankakee Trail from Indiana 49 to
Waverly Road along the Munson easement.
Brickyard to be
According to Keiser, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will
allow the town to subdivide off as a separate outlot the contaminated
portion of the 32-acre Brickyard parcel in order that redevelopment of the
remaining acreage can take place.
Consultants have estimated 6 to 9 acres could be involved in the
contamination/remediation depending on the future uses planned for those
New 2011 testing to determine the nature and extent of contamination, likely
residue from the former brickyard operations there, led an IDEM spokesperson
earlier this month to tell the Chesterton Tribune it appears taking
additional soil samples will be necessary.
Keiser said IDEM is reviewing the situation but because there’s no health or
safety emergency involved, the agency’s formal response isn’t expected until
Keiser told the commission the Brickyard project will be a planned unit
development, which has to be reviewed by the Plan Commission and approved by
the Town Council; a new council takes office Jan. 1.
Tuesday, Redevelopment Commission and council member Michele Bollinger said
she thought phasing the Brickyard was always in the plans. Keiser said it
has an estimated 20-year build-out and it’s typical in redevelopment to do
Phase 1 to pay for Phase 2.
hike/bike trail now under construction has the foundations in on either side
of U.S. 20 near Howe Road to support a pedestrian bridge that will span the
four-lane federal highway. Land-clearing for a foot bridge over U.S. 12 has
begun as well.
The U.S. 20
bridge could be set at month’s end, said Keiser, when the highway will be
closed minutes at a time yet remain open as a heavy-haul truck route. The
$2.9 million Brickyard Trail project, which connects the Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore trail system with downtown Porter, is slated to be
completed in April, 2012.
meeting Keiser said the Duneland Group that designed the Brickyard Trail is
drawing up plans for a fence, possibly split-rail, for along the trail edge
on the west side of Sexton Avenue near Beam Street to provide protection
from a sharp drop-off there.
due to Nov. 8 being election day, the Redevelopment Commission’s meeting
that night probably will be canceled.