road reconstruction near for new hospital

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 15:24 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

The cost of reconstructing a main artery to the new hospital going up in Michigan City has come in at more than $5 million.

The investment is not just for the hospital but residents and industry along the route like a commercial bakery, said Don Babcock, president of the city's redevelopment commission.

The five bids opened Monday range from $5.2 to $7.7 million.

Ohio St. from U.S 20 to 400 North will have a third lane added for making lefthand turns to help with traffic flow and safety on the one-mile stretch, Babcock said.

Better street lighting, major sewer improvements and a wider entranceway for Hearthside Food Solutions, a maker of baked goods like cookies and crackers, are also part of the project.

Babcock said the work should begin this summer and finish before the hospital is scheduled to open late this year.

''This is a north-south artery that has needed some attention for quite some time. The timing couldn't be better for improving the street,'' Babcock said.

The cost will be financed over 20-years with proceeds captured from a tax increment financing district that includes Dunes Plaza, Lowe's and Menards south of U.S 20, he said.

Dean Mazzoni, president and CEO of the hospital, said the main entrance to the $235 million hospital along I-94 will be a new drive called Franciscan Way close to where 400 North intersects with U.S 421.

All vehicles will use the drive to enter and exit the campus.

Another drive branching off of that one directly to the emergency room will be for ambulances, Mazzoni said.

Babcock said Ohio St. is expected to see heavier traffic from patients coming in from the north and west sides of the city and from new businesses serving the hospital expected to go up.

''We do anticipate there will be some new use of the road because of the hospital,'' Babcock said.