Bridge, tunnel over 41 not likely in St. John
BY VANESSA RENDERMANvrenderman@nwitimes.com
219.933.3241 | Monday, September 29, 2008
ST. JOHN | The volume of pedestrian traffic along U.S. 41 in St. John doesn't warrant a tunnel or pedestrian bridge, state and local officials said a week after a St. John man was killed crossing the thoroughfare.
Construction of a bridge or tunnel to cross U.S. 41 in St. John hasn't been requested, and a study hasn't been conducted, Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Joshua Bingham said.
The intersection of U.S. 41 and 93rd Avenue has a push button crosswalk if pedestrians want to cross there, he said.
On Sept. 17, Peter Hinkens, 44, was killed when he was struck by a car as he crossed U.S. 41 close to midnight.
The busy thoroughfare is the town's commercial corridor. But, foot traffic on U.S. 41 isn't normally a problem in St. John, Police Chief Fred Frego said.
Lake Central High School sits on U.S. 41, on the north end of town. But students don't often cross over. Those who walk usually go out the back gate of the school and not along 41, he said.
Frego said last week's death was the first one he can recall involving a pedestrian trying to cross U.S. 41.
"The only safe crosswalk you could have there would be an overhead crosswalk," he said. "I don't see that on the radar screen."
The town had entertained the idea of building a pedestrian bridge as a way to connect bike paths across U.S. 41, but it is "highly unlikely" that it will happen any time soon, Town Manager Steve Kil said.
"We simply don't have the means, nor is it our road," he said.
The town wouldn't object to INDOT building a pedestrian bridge. When it was discussed in the past, officials said the best place for it was just south of Alsip Home and Nursery. It could connect bike trails there the best, he said.
The possibility of a pedestrian bridge might be examined more closely if there were a large increase in foot traffic across U.S.41, of people trying to get to stores, for example, he said.
"Typically no one is walking across 41," Kil said. "They're always driving."