no statement was made of the financing of the project, it is expected that the state will contribute half and the federal government half. The program for the improvement has already been drafted and construction will commence early next year.
Wheeler's announcement upset the belief that the highway commission, as a result of clamorous remonstrances from residents of Deep River, Merrillville and Schererville, had abandoned its proposal to move the Lincolnway section onto a new right-of-way paralleling the existing route about one mile south.
The proposed "luxury lane," according to Wheeler, is planned to follow the same route south of the present highway which the commission figured on last spring when it first moved to re-route the segment. It would consist of two 20-foot concrete pavements with 60-foot landscaped parkways planted with popular trees and shrubs on either side.
The highway commission's engineers have determined that the superway would cut off about a mile of travel between Schererville and Valparaiso.
Wheeler said the highway board was studying the improvement with a view of providing greater safety for the heavy traffic load carried by the Lincolnway between the Indiana-Illinois boundary and Valparaiso.
"The accident and death record of the various state roads in the United States is appaling," he said, &and from time to time new highways have been designed to cut down the number of accidents and fatalities.
"Up to now, no design has proved absolutely effective, but it has been noted that wherever it has been used in the last few years the divided lane highway has shown itself to be the safest of all. By 'divided lane' highways we mean parallel pavements separated by 50 or 60 foot parkways, with each pavement strip a one-way drive.
"The highway commission has decided to experiment with such a modern highway in Indiana, and it is seriously considering this design for U. S. 30 from Deep River to the western outskirts of Schererville.
"Such a development would necessitate acquisition of a 200-foot right-of-way with two 20-foot paved surfaces separated by a 60-foot parkway. The commission feels that this 'superway' should be routed over the proposed new right-of-way for the Lincolnway segment lying a mile to the south of the present lane."
It was learned that the highway board favors purchasing land along the "southern route" because it claims, acreage is obtainable more cheaply there than along the present Lincolnway. A further reason lies in its desire to route the heavily-traveled arterial traffic around Schererville, Merrillville and Deep River rather than through them, in the interests of greater safety to motorists and pedestrians alike.
It is expected a party of engineers will shortly go over the "southern route," to complete the survey abandoned last spring when the commission, heeding the remonstrances from Deep River, Merrillville and Schererville, agreed tentatively to hold up its program.
Remonstrators against the re-route project comprise a committee of about 200 headed by Fred A. Kolb. They based their complaints on the promise that business interests in the three towns would suffer irreparable losses if the Lincolnway were taken out of their communities.
The highway commission has let it be known that the present route will
be habilitated and maintained as a unit of the state road system to take
care of local traffic if and when the proposed superway is completed to
accommodate the heavy through traffic.
The project is to be undertaken over a 200-foot right-of-way from Deep River on the Porter county line to U. S. 41 in Dyer, a distance of fifteen miles. It will replace the present Lake county route of Lincoln highway between those two points.
Plans call for two twenty-two foot traffic lanes, divided by a fifty-foot landscaped strip. One of the lanes will carry east-bound traffic and the other, west-bound traffic.
This experiment will be undertaken, according to the highway commission, to test the safety of a divided two-lane roadway over one of the principal east and west arterial highways in northern Indiana.
The present route carries a daily traffic load of slightly more than 5,000 vehicles.
With the widening of U. S. 41 now going forward, the projected Lincoln highway experiment will provide a safer route in Lake county for motorists who drive to and from Chicago through the northwestern section of Indiana, the commission declared.
James D. Adams, commission chairman, explained that the Lincoln highway improvement is the first step in a state-wide program to provide divided traffic lanes for all important arterial highways in Indiana.
"By dividing these roadways," he said, "the danger of head-on collisions would be eliminated; the number of side-swipes would be reduced, and glaring headlights would no longer be a peril. Fatal accidents, therefore, would be cut substantially."
Present forty-foot roads, carrying traffic in both directions, do not eliminate head-on crashes, Mr. Adams declared.
Continuing he declared: "The only permanent thing about a highway is the width of its right-of-way. Any surface we build now will sooner or later have to be replaced; so, we may as well begin acquiring 200-foot rights-of-way immediately to provide the land for future development of divided roadways."