U.S. 30 project could be Valpo’s biggest ever
By James D. Wolf jr. Post-Tribune correspondent December 27, 2012 2:50PM
Updated: December 27, 2012 10:53PM
VALPARAISO — The section of U.S. 30 that passes through Valparaiso could see improvements like pedestrian crossings, new traffic signals and turn lanes starting in 2014. And it could be completed within three years.
On Thursday, the Board of Works accepted an Indiana Department of Transportation-approved firm’s bid to do design on the highway and its right-of-ways, Bam, Longest and Neff of Indianapolis for $2.2 million. INDOT will foot the bill for the entire project at about $22.5 million.
“This is probably the largest project the city’s ever seen,” City Engineer Tim Burkman said.
The first step will be a traffic study to see where new signals and turn lanes are needed and whether the bridge over Salt Creek by Horseprairie Avenue needs widening. There should be new traffic signals at Indiana 2/Washington Street, and improvements along that city entryway that would extend to downtown, Burkman said.
Other U.S. 30 intersections that’d get improved include Sturdy Road, Horseprairie and Silhavy Road at Strongbow Centre Drive.
“That has been on the list for some time,” Burkman said of the complex intersection in front of Wal-Mart.
There’ll be decorative lighting, landscaping and pedestrian crossings at the intersections, tying them into the city’s pathways system.
The two railroad track bridges between Indiana 2 and Valparaiso University — the Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern and the Norfolk Southern — would be improved, including aesthetically. Burkman said the railroad bridges might be the easiest to get done first given the studies required for INDOT and federally-funded projects,
Between Sturdy and Silhavy, there’ll likely be either a pedestrian bridge or underpass, benefitting the pathways, the Valparaiso University students who shop in the area and the planned county pathway. “That’s a critical junction for the Dunes-Kankakee Trail,” Burkman said.
At Indiana 49, the overpass will be redesigned as a city gateway that compliments the new Vale Park Road overpass on 49, just to the north, although Burkman said it’s too early to say what the design will include.
At Hayes-Leonard Road, there’ll be a city welcome sign similar to the one at the Sturdy roundabout.
The city has considered improvements for a while, approving a plan for the entire corridor in July 2011. However, funding came in February when INDOT paid Valparaiso $2 million to take over Lincolnway — also known as Indiana 130 — within city limits by years’ end.
That transfer agreement included the $22.5 million to make improvements on U.S. 30 between Indiana 49 west to Hayes-Leonard Road.
Mayor Jon Costas said a lot of work has gone into the project. “Three years from now, people who drive through Valpo will realize it’s a community of choice,” Costas said.