By Joyce Russell
PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) – As U.S. 20 cuts across the northern part of the city, its identity is somewhat muddled.
At the intersection with Ind. 249, it seems to serve the travelers.
To the east, light industry is developing on lots set back from the highway.
To the west, the highway’s purpose is lost with a mix of old motels, mobile home parks, trucking firms and stretches of vacant land.
Portage officials are working to further define the corridor’s future. The city’s Redevelopment Commission last year hired a group of consultants to develop a comprehensive U.S. 20 corridor study to guide future development along the corridor.
“It is our last corridor, and we’re ready to do it,” said A.J. Monroe, director of public works. “With all the others (U.S. 6, Willowcreek Road, Ind. 249, Central Avenue, U.S. 12 corridors) there was a clearer path to development.”
Portage isn’t the only municipality to try to define the future of U.S. 20.
In 2008, the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission completed a Porter County U.S. 12/20 Transportation Corridor Plan. That plan recommended U.S. 20 receive a major upgrade, saying the “corridor is a vital element in the transportation system from local, regional and state perspectives. It needs to continue to provide the level of service, safety and mobility it was envisioned to provide.”
Burns Harbor, to Portage’s east, and Gary, its western neighbor, along with other communities that share what was originally built as the Dunes Relief Highway, are working to redevelop and redefine their sections of the corridor.1 2 3 next >>