Ripple effect felt after Cline Ave. bridge closes

January 9, 2010 5:02:31 PM PST
Residents and officials in northwest Indiana say the closure of the Cline Avenue bridge is having an economic impact on the region.They told state lawmakers at a meeting Saturday the bridge needs to be replaced.

The Indiana Dept. of Transportation closed it in November because of significant corrosion. Officials later said the bridge would be demolished and might not be replaced.

However, on Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said something would be built to replace it. The bridge provides access to several mills and casinos.

According to published reports, Majestic Star casino in Gary blames the bridge closure for 40 layoffs, and East Chicago, Ind. officials said it could impact plans for a housing development.

"One of the advantages we have been touting about the city of East Chicago is that we're 30 minutes from our downtown to downtown Chicago, but we can only make that boast with Cline Avenue as we know it today," said John Artis, dir. of redevelopment for the city of East Chicago.

Officials said the closure is forcing trucks and other traffic onto neighborhood streets.