Motorists will have an opportunity to drive the new 49 overpass at Vale Park Road beginning at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 21, after noon, announced Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas and Bob Alderman, District Deputy Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation. “We’re so pleased to open this new gateway to our city,” said Costas. “Not only is the overpass safer and more efficient, but it’s an attractive entry to Valparaiso.”
The new two-lane bridge features roundabouts at each entrance and exit ramp, plus a bike path. Though the overpass was an INDOT project, the city contributed to the design in order to make the project more welcoming in appearance. “We have appreciated INDOT’s willingness to work with us in creating a gateway that efficiently moves traffic and also communicates to visitors that they’ve arrived in Valparaiso,” said Costas. “This project will last for many years and we wanted to take the opportunity to make it something we can all be proud of.”
Beyond the efficient design, the overpass includes enhancements, such as sand colored walls, sculpted and textured to resemble wind-swept dunes, decorative lighting on the bridge, and LED back lit letters identifying “Valparaiso.” The concrete used in the roundabouts at either end has also been colored and stamped with a brick pattern for appearance.
Though the project is substantially complete, seeding and fencing will be completed next spring. “Once the dust has settled on the project, we’ll work with INDOT to design a more elaborate landscaping package,” said Tim Burkman, Valparaiso’s City Engineer. “We intend to dress up the gateway with low maintenance, native plantings to complement the surroundings.” The Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission has agreed to provide funding for these added enhancements.
The $7.2 million INDOT project was funded through Major Moves as well as National Highway System dollars, with a $200,000 contribution from the city’s Redevelopment Commission for the lighting enhancements. American Structurepoint provided the engineering for enhancements, Hanson Professional Services, Inc. designed the interchange, and G.E. Marshall of Valparaiso served as general contractor.