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Kankakee River Stateline Bridge

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Received this recently from a friend in conservation.


Any thoughts?


I talked to Duane Alverson, Lake County Highway engineer, Tuesday, May 8th on the status of the Stateline Bridge over the Kankakee River.




Not much has happened lately and it does not look like anything is going to happen soon (my impression.) The bridge has been closed since 1998 and I still hear no clamor for it to be rebuilt or replaced.




FYI-- the supporters are Kankakee County in IL and Lake and NEwton Counties in Indiana, the Kankakee River Basin Partnership in IL and the Kankakee River Basin Commission in Indiana.




There still is no MOA between the counties and the Federal Highway Administration. Planners are still within the federal Section 106 process, meaning there are certain things they have to do because of the historical significance of the bridge. Section 106 is required because the counties are looking for the federal government to pick up the tab for 80% of the cost of the new bridge.




There have been two offers to take the bridge but no formal offers yet on paper.




He did say that INDOT is doing a survey of all bridges in Indiana, in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration, to make a formal list of the bridges that are eligible for protection under S 106 and which will be exempted. (Bet a nickel that the Kankakee Bridge will be exempted.)




He envisions that the bridge, the north road to the bridge (Lake and Kankakee counties,) and the south road to the bridge, (Newton and Kankakee counties) will all be designed and permitted separately. Lake County will be taking the lead on the bridge and the north road.




If so, I see this as a ploy to minimize the cumulative environmental impact of a new bridge and rebuilt roads. i.e., there will be three impacts, each permitted at 'x' acres (not so much) instead of a single impact at 3 times 'x', (more impact and possibly over a legal threshold requiring different permits.)




Increasing funds from the feds are not the reason for the new bridge. The existing roads are already bringing in federal gas tax money, it is paid by linear mile, be it gravel road or a eight lane interstate.




The critical issue is that the river actually meanders back into Indiana south of the bridge and any more road work there will be in the river itself and not just in the floodplain as are the wetlands north of the bridge that the road traverses. Remember too that those wetlands are forested wetlands, a higher conservation priority in the state of Indiana.




It is the position of the Indiana Division of the Izaak Walton League that the bridge be raised a few feet and maintained for bicycle and foot traffic and closed to vehicular travel.




All the land between 241st in Lake Co. and Rt 10 in Indiana on Stateline Road is already part of LaSalle or on the acquisition list for LaSalle,on the IL side of Stateline, it is part of the Kankakaee River Conservancy District.




All the impacts of a new bridge and road here will be negative.




We should insist that any federal permits needed by the sponsors be for the cumulative impact of the upgraded roads and new bridge.

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