Over $77 Million in Projects Underway at Lake Michigan Port

May 19, 2024

Source: Ports of Indiana
Source: Ports of Indiana

More than $77 million in infrastructure and expansion projects are now being developed at Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor as a record construction season kicks off in the Lake Michigan port.

Major projects in various phases of development include construction of a highway bridge entering the port, three new ship berths, a new bulk warehouse, two new railyards, industrial site development, and extensive dock and rail rehabilitation throughout the 600-acre port.

Current projects at the port include:

• Construction of a $35.4 million dual bridge entrance to the port: Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is constructing highway bridges that will serve as the two inbound and two outbound lanes connecting the port to State Road 249. The 1,200-foot structures provide heavy-haul truck access for carrying port cargoes over 10 railroad tracks and six lanes of traffic. The multiyear construction project will add a new two-lane bridge and then rebuild the existing two-lane bridge. Both bridges will cross over U.S. Highway 12 as well as South Shore and Norfolk Southern rail lines. Once complete, the project will expand the port entrance from two lanes to four lanes.

• Development of a $25 million multimodal project: Partially funded by a $9.85 million U.S. Department of Transportation FASTLANE grant, the port is constructing three ship berths and two railyards to expand shipping capabilities and improve efficiencies. Once completed, the projects will increase port capacity for handling ocean vessels by 35% and for handling railcars by 1,200%. By adding new storage capacity for 250 railcars, the port can now offer unit train service that reduces costs and expands market connectivity for rail shippers. The project will also turn three unproductive areas of the port into working docks with multimodal facilities that transfer cargo between ocean vessels, Great Lakes freighters, river barges, multiple railroads and regional truck lines.

• Construction of a $9 million bulk cargo facility: A new 84,000 square-foot warehouse and bulk storage area will be constructed near the East Harbor, funded in part by a $4 million U.S.DOT Maritime Administration grant from the Port Infrastructure Development Program. The project’s warehouse will increase the port’s capacity of covered bulk storage by 70% once completed in 2025.

• Capital investments of $8.3 million in port infrastructure: Multiple port improvement projects that are underway include developing shovel-ready industrial sites, rail and dock rehabilitations, multiple paving projects, as well as additional building and infrastructure upgrades.

“This port is going through a transformational multi-year expansion, and the amount of construction happening right now exceeds every year since the port was built in the 1960s,” said Ports of Indiana CEO Jody Peacock. “These are critical projects that ensure our port remains an international gateway for ocean vessels, lakers and river barges, and that our multimodal infrastructure can meet growing freight demands in the Northwest Indiana and greater Chicago market. We’re extremely grateful for the leadership from our state and federal departments of transportation in supporting Indiana’s multimodal expansion.”

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