Local Residents Comment on the Proposed Illiana Expressway
November 5, 2013 — More than 100 local residents packed Lowell Middle School tonight to express their opinions to the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission about the proposed Illiana Expressway.
Residents shared comments by filling out comments cards, asking NIRPC and Indiana Department of transportation representatives questions or going on-line.
Lowell resident Frank Scheckel wanted answers tonight, “What are they going to do? Are they going to leave me hanging out in limbo? Are they going to have me counting cars instead of sheep at night? Is this thing going above the ground, below the ground?”
Indiana Department of Transportation Communication Director Jim Pinkerton says, “We have been working specifically with property owners to try and find alignments for the project that’s going to be less impacting onto property owners.”
Many residents say they are opposing the project because they are concerned about how the expansion will affect nature and the environment. Kouts resident John Hodson says, “They promise that it’s not going to have an impact on the river, but we we’re promised that before, and plans, statistics, things like that, you can do almost anything you want with.”
Pinkerton says, “Those are the kinds of things we’re looking at because we want to reduce any impact that are going to have by constructing a facility like this.”
Eagle Creek Township resident Lorraine Banks says the proposed expressway path is one mile from her home. “The water pumps out of this quarry is going to end up in the Mississippi River. It’s leaving the watershed forever. They don’t want to hear it because they don’t care.”
NIRP-C has two more public comment meetings planned: 4-6 p.m. November 13 at NIRPC headquarters in Portage and 2-4 p.m. November 19 at City Hall in Michigan City.
By Denise Turner