Portage considers a bridge over the dunes

December 17, 2012 by  

According to a recent report, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Portage, Indiana, may soon have a bridge to make it easier for visitors to get around the park.

Constantine Dillon, who is the park superintendent, is backing an idea to build a suspension bridge that will allow bikers and hikers who visit the park to cross several highways in safety. The proposed bridge would cross three major routes: Indiana 249, U.S. 20, and Burns Ditch.

Dillon said in a statement that the bridge he envisions is similar to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge – a 3,000-foot span that crosses the Missouri River in Omaha, Nebraska. The Kerrey Bridge connects downtown Omaha with Council Bluffs, Iowa, and makes access to a number of trails and parks, including the Omaha Botanical Gardens, easy for walkers. The Kerrey Bridge is also a draw for visitors, an outcome Dillon envisions would also be true for a similar structure in Indiana.

He called the proposed span “stunning” and said:

“[The project] can become an icon of northwest Indiana, a symbol of how northwest Indiana views its lakefront.”

Bill Hanna, President of the Regional Development Authority revealed that he supports Dillon’s idea, seeing the span as a way to improve public use of the lakeshore park. Hanna noted that:

“[Portage is a] lakefront community, but folks who don’t see the lake don’t always think of it that way.”

Dillon could work with brochure printers to create a brochure that would explain the benefits of the bridge to Portage residents.