Vehicles travel on the westbound Borman Expressway near the intersection with northbound Interstate 65 on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Kyle Telechan/Post Tribune)
Vehicles travel on the westbound Borman Expressway near the intersection with northbound Interstate 65 on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Kyle Telechan/Post Tribune)
The state’s highway department is looking for comments and suggestions on new ways to cut congestion and boost safety on the Borman Expressway, Indiana’s busiest highway.

The Indiana Department of Transportation has scheduled public meetings in Gary and Hammond, as well as an online session, for its Planning and Environmental Linkage study on the Borman, the name for Interstates 80 and 94 in Lake County.

The study will include the Illinois portion of Interstate 80/94, up to Illinois 394.

The first meeting will be July 28 at 21st Century Charter School of Gary, 556 Washington St.

The next one will be July 29 at Purdue University Northwest’s Student Union and Library Building, 2233 173rd St., Hammond.

Each meeting will start at 5 p.m., with a presentation beginning at 6 p.m.

A virtual public meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Aug. 3. To reach the website, go to indianaflexroad.com and click on “public meetings.”

INDOT’s study is beginning about a decade since a multiyear project to widen the Borman to four lanes in each direction was completed.

Since then, the highway has become busier and more congested.

Another Borman widening project is not on the horizon, INDOT spokesman Adam Parkhouse said, because there’s essentially no room to add more lanes.

“We’re looking at other strategies to try to ease congestion,” he said.

Those strategies, as outlined in the 80/94 Flex/Road study’s website, could include limiting on-ramp traffic at busy times, allowing cars to use the road shoulder, and other ideas.

The study’s site says 75% of the crashes on the Borman between 2017 and 2019 were rear-end crashes or same-direction sideswipes, and 58% involved trucks although trucks are 20% to 25% of the highway’s traffic.

Parkhouse said the Borman study is Indiana’s first Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) study, which focuses on public involvement before beginning a major highway project.

Another future PEL study will look at U.S. 30 from Valparaiso to the Ohio line, but no consultant has been picked for that yet.
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