COOLSPRING TWP. – Michigan City commuters who use Johnson Road or Kieffer Road as part of their commutes will have to find an alternate route next week when the county closes a busy intersection for an ongoing construction project.
The closure of both Johnson Road and CR-400N at the intersection, just south of the Town of Trail Creek, is scheduled to begin Monday morning. It's part of a project to improve the safety of the intersection and do some underground utility work at the same time, according to the La Porte County planning director.
The good news is the closure, scheduled to last all week, may not take that long.
"The roads will remain open for the majority of the construction," county planning director Mitchell Bishop said. "The only scheduled closing is the week of the 18th and that is to relocate some underground utilities under the roadway.
"It’s scheduled for the entire week, but it may be less then a week," he said.
The closure will not only mean a detour for commuters, but possibly for emergency vehicles as well. The Coolspring Township Fire Department is located just west of the intersection on CR-400N, which is also one of the routes used by ambulances en route to Franciscan Health Michigan City.
The project will entail "widening the roadway to allow the left-turn conflicts to be removed on Johnson Road by aligning the opposing left-turn lanes," Bishop said.
It will also include new overhead LED traffic lights, new striping and pavement markings, "and, of course, new pavement," he said.
Bishop applied for and the county was awarded a federal grant to offset part of the cost of the approximately $1.1 million project.
There is a 115-day contract timeframe for construction, according to Bishop. "The clock has started and the entire project should be completed by the middle of November."
As for alternate routes next week?
Eastbound drivers on 400N can use Wozniak Road to CR-450N to CR-675W to go around the intersection, or vice versa if westbound. Northbound drivers on Johnson Road can use 675W and 450N; and vice versa if southbound.