Indiana rail line rerouting could cost residents homes

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Some Indiana residents may lose their homes to make way for the realignment of a rail line.

The South Bend Tribune reported that the proposed South Shore Line route near the South Bend International Airport is projected to cost up to $25 million.

The line would cut 10 minutes off the trip to the airport by taking a more direct route through an area that contains hundreds of homes.

The rail line’s operator, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, has hired design firm DLZ to recommend a route through the area.

Residents will have the opportunity to give feedback at a public meeting later this year or early next year, said Mike Noland, president of the South Shore Line. Noland expects the design firm will create four to eight potential routes before recommending one to the transportation district board.

“At the end of the day, no matter what we do, it will require some property acquisition to make this happen,” Noland said. “We believe strongly that this change will benefit the citizens of the region for 100 years.”

Area resident Glenn Road said he doesn’t want to see the neighborhood disturbed.

“Nobody wants their neighborhood upset unless they’re looking to move anyway and make a bunch of money from it, which usually doesn’t happen anyway. It’s the best neighborhood I’ve lived in for a long time,” he said.

The realignment is part of a larger $290 million project to double track 16 miles between Michigan City and Gary. It has an expected completion date of 2020, pending federal funding approval.

The airport and railroad had planned a similar project in 2005. The airport bought several area properties before shelving the project because of lack of funding.