The Town Council last night (February 9th) approved a $5.9 Million bond issue for the purpose of getting caught up on repairs and paving of neighborhood streets throughout town. In 2020 the town did not repair or resurface streets due to the budget financial uncertainty due to COVID-19.  This year, the council will be paving in Wards 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 and will tackle streets in Wards 2 and 6 next year utilizing two bond issues, that is a typical way the town funds these types of expensive projects. Merrillville has a large land mass with over one-million linear feet of streets totaling 195 miles of roads!
Each council district will be getting their worst streets repaired over the two-year project. It is important to note that not all councilmanic districts are the same size. Districts are adjusted every 10-years after new Census numbers are revealed. The goal is to have each district have as close as possible the same number of residents living in the district. The town will be re-districting in the next year or two once Census counts are revealed and verified. So, each district has a different amount of street miles as some districts are more densely populated than others.
Part of this year’s bond funds will also be used to upgrade several pieces of heavy equipment in the Public Works (street) department with the purchase of 3 new dump trucks and one new backhoe. The new items will replace existing trucks that are almost 20-years old.
Replacements are also being done for safety as these heavy items tend to rust out due them being around road salt for many years. Rust becomes an issue no matter how well the equipment is maintained and especially inside the frames of these heavy trucks
I am pleased to share that Ward 5 will have $775,000 worth of streets paved this year. Below is a list of the neighborhood streets earmarked for repair and paving this year. Naturally concrete work will be done as needed for curbs and handicap ramps. Please watch for posted signs on your street to inform you when you will need to keep your vehicles off of the street for repair work and paving. NO streets will be closed during the process and you will always have access to your properties.
Another major road project in our Ward will be the completed extension of 86th Avenue between Merrillville Road and Broadway Street. We will be connecting that street through as part of the Phase 3 Hunter’s Glen development. This will give us a much needed additional through street from Merrillville Road to Broadway. The funding for this project still needs to be worked out, but plans are to get it started this year. Estimates place this project between $500,000 to $700,000.
-Rick Bella – Councilman Ward 5

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