Boulevard of Dreams

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Major renovation of Michigan Boulevard

BY JESSICA O’BRIEN – Michigan City News Dispatch – Dec 28, 2014

MICHIGAN CITY — Revitalizing a major gateway into the city, construction work on Michigan Boulevard wrapped up in the fall of 2014.

Spanning more than four years this project cost more than $13 million – the first nearly $8 million and the second approximately $6 million. It was divided into two phases – Phase 1 beginning at U.S. Highway 12 to Carroll Avenue and the second continuing on to the Indiana 212 interchange.

The corridor overhaul kicked off in April 2010. It became an area of concern when the city took control over U.S. Highway 35 from the state several years ago. At this point, the city prioritized the boulevard’s revitalization, beautifying one of its major arteries.

As the project was nearing completion in November 2014, City Engineer Charles “Spike” Peller said the boulevard will exceed the engineering standards for a major highway throughout all four miles of the improvement area.

“Transportation is an important part of city government,” he said. “Improving this road will help to stimulate investment in Michigan City and make travel for residents easier.”

Funding for this project came from a variety of sources including Riverboat and Major Moves funds, a grant through the Northern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) and money from the state.

In addition to beautifying the thoroughfare with the addition of planters, trees, street lights and traffic signals, asphalt was replaced in all four lanes of the improvement zone. Also, several medians were removed during phase two and replaced with center turn lanes.

Mayor Ron Meer said this was intended to give the road a “more open concept which is more conducive to bringing more business to that corridor.”

While the ongoing construction was a nuisance for travelers, many businesses along the boulevard are pleased with the end result.

Dave Backstrom, owner of Lakeshore Lanes, for example, said removing the medians and installing turning lanes made entering and exiting his parking lot easier.

According to Meer, it should be 10 to 15 years before the city will need to make major improvements to the Michigan Boulevard corridor again.