The Cline Avenue Bridge will restore a critical transportation route on State Road 912, serving employment centers, promoting economic development, and establishing a vital emergency route in Northwest Indiana.
The Cline Avenue Bridge is owned by United Bridge Partners, which funds, designs, builds, owns, and operates private toll bridges across the United States.
This means that now the bridge is a private facility 100% owned and using no local, state, or federal funds for its construction or operation. The financier of this project, American Infrastructure Funds (AIM) is an innovative private investment firm.
Completion of the one mile, two lane, 100 foot high construction is forecasted for completion this winter.
Cline Avenue’s construction began in1979. It was built as a cross over to the Indiana Harbor Canal with connections to all the employment centers of East Chicago and was traveled by more than 35,000 vehicles every day.
In 2009, it was discovered that corrosion had weakened the bridge and by 2013 it was demolished by the Indiana Dept. of Transportation.
Without access to the bridge, local and truck traffic heightened in Hammond, East Chicago, and Whiting, increasing not only travel time for drivers but wear and tear on city streets.
While there was no question about the need for a new bridge, there was also no government funding to do it. That’s where United Bridge Partners stepped in, offering to build, operate, maintain, and finance the new bridge at no cost to any government entity.
The Cline Avenue Bridge (SR 912) project is located in East Chicago and crosses the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal. The 1.7-mile bridge begins west of Riley Road and extends east to its abutment east of Dickey Road.
The new bridge will restore service from I-90 and I-80/I-94 to several mills including BP’s Whiting Refinery, ArcelorMittal, and U.S. Steel as well as to casinos along Lake Michigan.
“It’s called the Gateway of Lake County because it really is the connection point in and out of this region vital corridor,” said Laura Webber, spokesperson for United Bridge Partners.
The bridge is set to be completed this winter and because it is privately owned, it will be a toll road.
But there are no stops along the way.
The toll road is all electronic tolling. It will detect your Easy Pass or whatever transponder you have. If you don’t have a transponder, you will receive an invoice in the mail for using the road.
Laura pointed out that what you’ll receive IS an invoice, not a ticket. But it might make you want to go out and get a transponder because there is a difference in the tolling.
With E-ZPass or I-PASS tolls run from 2 axles for $2.50 up to 5 axles for $10.50. If you’re paying by plate, 2 axles are $5.50 up to 5 axles for $13.50
“There’s been a lot of excitement and anticipation by the public to have this short cut returned,” Laura said. “And we look forward to the opportunities this will bring to the local communities. There’s even a facebook page!
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