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Porter County commissioners moving forward with Willowcreek Road study

Updated: November 17, 2013 6:28AM



VALPARAISO — Porter County is studying a major north-south artery serving the west portion of the county, stretching from Portage to South County and costing at least $60 million.

The Board of Commissioners announced Tuesday that they are moving ahead with a feasibility study on extending Willowcreek Road from County Road 700N to County Road 100S.

Board President John Evans, R-North, expects the road to be four lanes, and said he hopes it will eventually continue to Indiana 2. He estimated the cost at $60 million or more, with funds coming from a wide array of sources, including state and federal dollars.

While Indiana 49 serves the east side of the county, there is no similar north-south connecting road on the west side, Evans said, adding the proposed road would fill that niche while being a “game changer” in terms of spurring economic development and easing transportation, and also meeting the parameters of the Job Cabinet recommendations.

“The County Council is in dire need of money. It’s either cut, cut, cut or grow our assessed valuation, and this will do both. It’s a lean, lean project and will grow our AV,” Evans said.

Commissioners will begin seeking proposals for the feasibility study immediately. Because federal funding is anticipated for the initial and future phases of the study, Evans said, the county will use Indiana Department of Transportation procedures for selection of a consultant and execution of the work.

The feasibility study also will address improvements to County Road 100 South. Residents along the road met past improvement plans with criticism, Evans said, but its safety issues have to be addressed.

“I want to assure the public that no preconceived plans for the Willowcreek Road extension have been developed,” Evans said, adding the purpose of the initial work is to examine options and feasibility for the road extension and improvements to County Road 100S. “It is our goal that input from the public will be included throughout the process.”

In other business, the commissioners and Auditor Bob Wichlinski will hold a special meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the commissioners chambers of the county administration building to finalize redistricting for the county council.

The redistricting must be done one year before the November 2014 general election.

A recent study of county council districts across the state from DePauw University said those in Porter County are not balanced by population, as required by state statute.



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