Infrastructure Gets Tuned Up

Infrastructure Gets Tuned Up

To maintain its position as the “Crossroads of America,” the state of Indiana has to constantly improve its logistics infrastructure and establish new ways to keep mobility flowing throughout the state. It’s essential for our economic success and, fortunately, a process the state handles very well. Right now there are lots of different projects happening in Indiana that will enhance our logistics portfolio for years.


$36M – 45th Street Grade Separation, Munster

General Contractor: Walsh Construction
Construction Engineering and Inspection: DLZ
Roadway Engineering: Robinson Engineering
Structural Engineering (Railway): H.W. Lochner, Inc.

Construction recently began on a two-year project that’s going to reconfigure one of northwest Indiana’s most notoriously congested intersections. In Munster, 45th street presently intersects Calumet Avenue at two points, with the eastern leg of 45th located to the north of the western leg. Making things even more complicated, CN Railroad tracks are situated between both points.

This intersection creates a lot of headaches on a daily basis. Town officials have reported about 40,000 vehicles traverse Calumet Avenue every day, 15,000 drive across 45th Street, and up to 24 trains pass through the area each day. Those figures all culminate in a frequent traffic choke point.

Construction plans call for an overhaul. 45th Street is going to be realigned to properly connect the eastern leg to the western, and an underpass is going to be built to allow 45th Street traffic to pass under the CN Railroad tracks.

Previously existing portions of 45th Street from the intersection with Calumet Avenue to about 1,250 feet to the east will be turned into green space and the intersection with Columbia Avenue will be closed. To build the tunnel under the railroad tracks, a temporary track will be constructed to shift rail traffic north onto the existing 45th Street right of way. The tracks will be shifted back into place once the tunnel is established.

Funding for the $36 million project originated from several sources: $9 million from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), $9.6 million from the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC), $6 million from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), and finally $11.4 million from Munster itself using revenue bonds, wheel tax revenue, refinanced TIF bonds, and other local sources.

In the end, both state and local officials project the reconfiguration will have a transformative impact on the community and local businesses.


$13.85M – US 52 Bridge over the Wabash River

General Contractor: Superior Construction
Consulting Engineering Firm: Parsons    

Completed U.S. 52 bridge.

In a stunning display of explosive demolition, the old US 52 bridge over the Wabash River in Tippecanoe County was taken down to make way for a brand-new structure. Late last year, Superior Construction put the final touches on the new, $13.85 million bridge after several months of challenging construction.

The seven-span bridge is about 960 feet long. Throughout construction, workers had to contend with the high daily volume of traffic that crosses the bridge, fluctuating river conditions, regular activities conducted at over 60 feet in the air, and unique soil conditions that required a new form of testing. All of that was achieved without any recordable injuries.

Demolition of the old bridge.

Superior worked with INDOT’s Geotechnical division and Purdue University to conduct new pile testing methods due to the variations in soil conditions along the riverbed. This resulted in a new technique that’s being referred to as a “large-diameter, open-ended pipe pile.” Basically, this involved a double-wall approach that was achieved by driving two concentric steel pipes welded to each other in the soil and sealing them to prevent water from getting in between the pipes.

Notably, the type of research that was involved in this process would typically be seen on offshore projects. Students and faculty involved in this process were afforded the rare opportunity to conduct pile testing on an active construction project. This was the first time INDOT used this kind of testing and pile type on a project.


$3.5M – New Terminal Road at Fort Wayne International Airport

General Contractor: Crosby Excavating Inc.
Engineering: Passero Associates

Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) recently completed construction on its new terminal entrance road. The new road serves as a gateway for the entire facility, with the introduction of a new entrance leading up to the main terminal building as well as new entrances for all parking lots.

Construction was executed in six phases after the project kicked off a little over a year ago. Crosby Excavating was the general contractor for all portions of the project, with engineering work done by Passero Associates.

The new terminal road features LED lighting, new signage, and an improved phone lot for those waiting for arriving passengers. The new design positions all of the paid parking on the left side of the road and message boards at the lot entrances to notify passengers when the lots are at capacity.

With eight years of consecutive passenger growth and plans for future terminal improvements and expansion, airport authority officials recognized the need to remove the old terminal entrance road sooner rather than later. The new road will create a better flow of traffic for arriving passengers, and guests waiting to pick up friends and family.

“The new terminal road is another testament to the growth that our airport has been experiencing over the last several years,” said Executive Director Scott Hinderman. “Not only does the new terminal entrance road create a more streamlined way for airport passengers and visitors to arrive at the terminal building, it also supports future growth for the airport.”

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