U.S. Route 12 in Indiana
|Iron Brigade Memorial Highway|
|Maintained by INDOT|
|Length:||45.16 mi (72.68 km)|
|Existed:||November 11, 1926 – present|
|Lake Michigan Circle Tour|
|West end:||US 12 / US 20 / US 41 in Whiting at the Illinois state line|
| I-65 in Gary
I-90 / Ind. Toll Rd. in Gary
|East end:||US 12 in Michiana Shores at the Michigan state line|
|Counties:||Lake, Porter, La Porte|
U.S. Route 12 (US 12) is a part of the United States Numbered Highway System that runs from Aberdeen, Washington, to Detroit, Michigan. In the U.S. state of Indiana, it is part of the state road system. US 12 enters the state concurrent with US 20 and US 41 in Whiting. The 45.16 miles (72.68 km) of US 12 that lie within Indiana serve as a major conduit. Some of the highway is listed on the National Highway System. Various sections are rural two-lane highway, urbanized four-lane undivided highway and one-way streets. The easternmost community along the highway is Michiana Shores at the Michigan state line.
US 12 passes through urban areas and wood lands, parallel to the Lake Michigan shoreline. The highway is included in the Lake Michigan Circle Tour and passes through the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Historical landmarks along the highway include the Miller Town Hall, Beverly Shores South Shore Railroad Station and the Old Michigan City Lighthouse. A memorial highway designations have been applied to the route since 1917, named for the Civil War Union Army unit.
US 12 was first designated as a US Highway in 1926, concurrent with US 20 west of Michigan City. A section of the highway originally served as part of the Dunes Highway, a connection between Gary and Michigan. US 12 replaced the original SR 43 designation of the highway which dated back to the formation of the Indiana state road system. SR 43 ran from the Illinois state line through Gary to Michigan City and ended at the Michigan state line. In the early 1920s, it was the most important route between Chicago and Detroit and in 1922 the first sections started being paved. The Indiana State Highway Commission, later renamed Indiana Deportment of Transportation, removed US 20 from the section east of Gary in the early 1930s. Most of the route has since been supplanted by Interstate 94 (I–94) and the Indiana Toll Road.
Only one segment of U.S. Route 12 is included in the National Highway System (NHS). That is the segment that is concurrent with U.S. Route 20 from the Illinois state line to the split with US 20 in East Chicago. The NHS is a network of highways that are identified as being most important for the economy, mobility and defense of the nation. The highway is maintained by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) like all other U.S. Highways in the state. The department tracks the traffic volumes along all state highways as a part of its maintenance responsibilities using a metric called average annual daily traffic (AADT). This measurement is a calculation of the traffic level along a segment of roadway for any average day of the year. In 2010, INDOT figured that the lowest traffic levels were 3,120 vehicles and 350 commercial vehicles used the highway daily near Ogden Dunes. The peak traffic volumes were 30,510 vehicles and 2,430 commercial vehicles AADT along the section of US 12 at the Illinois state line, concurrent with US 20 and US 41. The highway has been designated as the Iron Brigade Memorial Highway to honor the Civil War Union Army unit; it has the same designation in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois.
Whiting to Gary
US 12 enters Indiana concurrent with US 20 and US 41, at which point it passes under the Indiana Toll Road. The road passes both commercial and industrial areas between Wolf Lake and Horseshoe Casino. US 12, US 20, and US 41 are concurrent until US 41 turns south on Calumet Avenue. Both US 12 and US 20 head southeast toward East Chicago, where US 12 turns east while US 20 continues south. The route heads east through East Chicago as a four-lane undivided highway passing through mostly residential areas. The road heads south concurrent with State Road 912 (SR 912), passing through mainly industrial area between East Chicago and Gary. The two routes have an interchange at SR 312 and access to the Indiana Toll Road, via an interchange at Gary Avenue. The road has two bridges with the first passes over Grand Calumet River and the other passing over the Indiana Toll Road and the South Shore commuter rail line.
After passing the rail line, the road has an interchange with US 20, this interchange is the southern end of the SR 912 concurrency. US 12 follows US 20 east towards downtown Gary, as a four-lane divided highway. The two highways pass through residential areas and crosses the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway owned by Norfolk Southern Railway, before downtown Gary. At Bridge Street in Gary, the road becomes one-way streets, with westbound on Fourth Avenue and eastbound on Fifth Avenue. In downtown Gary it has an intersection with SR 53, locally known as Broadway. The streets also pass by the histrionically Knights of Columbus Building and the old Ralph Waldo Emerson School building. East of downtown Gary, the road passes by U.S. Steel Yard the home of the Gary SouthShore RailCats, an independent professional baseball team. The one-way streets end and the road becomes a six-lane divided highway, known as Dunes Highway. The Dunes Highway passes between the South Shore commuter rail line and residential houses. East of Gary the route has a signalized intersection with the northern terminus of Interstate 65 (I-65).
Gary to Michiana Shores
After I-65, the road has a trumpet interchange with I-90. In the far eastern portion of Gary, US 12 and US 20 split for the final time, although US 20 closely parallels US 12 for the next 20 miles (32 km), sometimes coming within 0.2 miles (0.32 km). US 20 follows a slightly more southerly route to Michigan City (via Portage and Porter), while US 12 passes through the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and retains the name "Dunes Highway." After splitting from US 20, US 12 becomes a mostly rural two-lane highway, passing through the woodland.
The road passes just south of the historical Miller Town Hall, in the community of Miller Beach. After the community of Miller Beach, the highway enters the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The road passes through woodland and parallel to the South Shore tracks, before leaving the National Lakeshore west of Ogden Dunes. In Ogden Dunes the highway becomes a four-lane divided highway, passing through woodland with some houses. After Ogden Dunes the road has a folded diamond interchange with the north terminus of SR 249 and George Nalson Dirve, which heads into the industrial complex at Burns Harbor. The industrial complex at Burns Harbor includes a NIPSCO power plant and a steel mill. After SR 249, the route has an intersection with SR 149 and a folded diamond interchange at an access road into Burns Harbor. After this interchange the highway narrows to a two-lane highway again.
The highway is near, but not on or within sight of, the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The route reenters the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at a traffic light for the eastern entrance of Mittal Steel. After the traffic light the road passes south of Dune Acres and enters the Indiana Dunes State Park. The road has an intersection with SR 49, with access to the lake front. After the intersection the road passes under the access road to the lake front. The highway leaves the dunes and enters Beverly Shores. In Beverly Shores at the intersection of US 12 and Broadway is the Beverly Shores South Shore Railroad Station. After leaving Beverly Shores the route enters the Town of Pines and has an all-way stop at the northern terminus of SR 520. SR 520 is the final connecting route to US 20 before the two separate regionally.
After the Town of Pines the road curves due north back into the dunes and crossing the Shouth Shore tacks. The route curves northeast and becomes a four-lane undivided highway, before leaving the dunes. After the dunes the route crosses the Chicago–Detroit railroad track, owned by Amtrak. The Chicago–Detroit track is used by Amtrak's Wolverine train. The route makes a few more curves before entering downtown Michigan City and passing through a mix of industrial and commercial areas. In downtown Michigan City the route becomes a four-lane divided highway and passes south of the Old Michigan City Lighthouse, but just north of the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets. Before exiting Michigan City, the road narrows to a four-lane undivided highway and intersects SR 212, an eastern bypass of Michigan City. After SR 212 the route leaves Michigan City and passes through Long Beach. The highway leaves Long Beach, traveling through woodlands with houses and the town of Michiana Shores, before entering Michigan.
The Old Chicago Road was an important road from 1900 to 1910; it was later renamed the Dunes Highway. The Dunes Highway Association engineers envisioned the Dunes Highway a "state of the art" 40-foot-wide (12 m) concrete highway with a 100-foot (30 m) right-of-way. In August 1919, Commission director H.L. Wright tentatively designated the Dunes Highway as State Road 43, to be 20 feet (6.1 m) wide. Narrower than anticipated, the new concrete highway was still superior to most Indiana roads, which in the mid-1920s were gravel or dirt with paved sections only between the larger towns. Dunes Highway construction began in 1922 under the guidance of Gary contractor Ingwald Moe and construction engineer Ezra Sensibar.
The designation was changed to US 12 and US 20 in 1926 when the U.S. Highway system was created. The two routes were concurrent from Illinois to Michigan City, with the rest in Indiana as only being US 12. In 1930, US 20 was moved to a new aliment south of US 12. This left US 12 on its current alignment without US 20. The route has not changed between 1931 and 2002, with only work being maintenance. Then in 2003, the state of Indiana rerouted US 20 onto SR 912 from Columbus Drive to US 20. The route was changed to make room for the Gary/Chicago International Airport runway expansion project.
|Lake||Whiting||0.00||0.00||US 12 west / US 20 west / US 41 north – Chicago||Illinois state line|
|0.06||0.10||I-90 east / Ind. Toll Rd. – South Bend, Toledo||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|1.34||2.16||US 41 south (Calumet Avenue) – Hammond||Southern end of US 41 concurrency|
|East Chicago||4.41||7.10||Riley Road||To SR 912|
|5.16||8.30||US 20 east – Michigan City||Southern end of US 20 concurrency|
|SR 912 north (Cline Avenue)||Northern end of SR 912 concurrency|
|8.48||13.65||SR 312 west / Chicago Avenue||Eastern terminus of SR 312|
|10.84||17.45||US 20 west / SR 912 south – East Chicago||Western end of US 20 concurrency; southern end of SR 912|
|Gary||13.74||22.11||SR 53 (Broadway) – Merrillville|
|15.32||24.66||I-65 south – Indianapolis||Northern terminus of I-65|
|I-90 / Ind. Toll Rd. – South Bend, Chicago, Toledo|
|16.71||26.89||US 20 east (Melton Road) – Michigan City, South Bend||Eastern end of US 20 concurrency|
|SR 249 south (Crisman Road) / George Nelson Drive||Northern terminus of SR 249|
|Burns Harbor||25.05||40.31||SR 149 south (Max Mochal Highway) – Portage||Northern terminus of SR 149|
|SR 49 south – Chesterton, Valparaiso||Northern terminus of SR 49|
|Town of Pines||34.84||56.07||SR 520 south (Maple Street) to US 20||Northern terminus of SR 520|
|La Porte||Michigan City||43.45–
|SR 212 south to US 20||Northern terminus of SR 212|
|Michiana Shores||45.16||72.68||US 12 east – Detroit||Michigan state line|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Staff. "Memorial Highways and Bridges". Indiana Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
- Weingroff, Richard (April 7, 2011). "US 12 Michigan to Washington". Highway History. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
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- "Commemorative highways and bridges". Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
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- Indiana Department of Transportation (August 23, 2011) (PDF). Indiana Railroad Map (Map). Cartography by INDOT. http://www.in.gov/indot/files/MAIN-RR-11_V1.pdf. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- Google Inc. "Overview map of US 12 from Gary to Michigan". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=E+5th+Ave&daddr=41.5977805,-87.2717781+to:41.64943,-87.04708+to:U.S.+12+E&hl=en&ll=41.719056,-87.077637&spn=0.625278,0.883026&sll=41.676246,-87.080727&sspn=0.156424,0.220757&geocode=FTa8egId7s3L-g%3BFVS7egIdnlbM-ilB2H1AsMERiDHqOocDTBiW9g%3BFRaFewIdWMTP-ilhl8cLpKQRiDEwEsaS-SIPBg%3BFYw1fQIdFIfT-g&mra=dvme&mrsp=2&sz=12&via=1,2&t=h&z=10. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
- Nelson, C.W. (February 1957). "On the Old Chicago Road". Duneland Historical Society Newsletter: 1–7.
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- Jakle, John A. (1985). The Tourist, Travel in Twentieth-Century North America. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 130–132.
- Sanford, Dena; Williams, Brenda (1996). Historic Properties Summary, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Omaha: National Park Service. p. 3.
- Staff (August 2005). Development of US 12/US 20: 'The Dunes Highway'. National Park Service.
- Rose, Albert C. (1953). Historic American Highways: Significant Incidents in the Development of Highway Transportation in Colonial America and the United States During More Than Four Centuries. Washington: American Association of State Highway Officials. p. 88.
- Rand McNally (1926). Road Map of Indiana (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally (1926 ed.). http://www.broermapsonline.org/members/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/Midwest/Indiana/unitedstates1926ra_032.html.
- Indiana State Highway Commission (September 30, 1927) (PDF). Indiana Transportation Map of 1927 (Map). Cartography by ISHC. http://bl-libg-doghill.ads.iu.edu/gm-web/imdb/inhwy1927.pdf.
- Indiana State Highway Commission (September 30, 1930) (PDF). Indiana Transportation Map of 1930 (Map). Cartography by ISHC. Section B1–H1. http://bl-libg-doghill.ads.iu.edu/gm-web/imdb/inhwy1930.pdf.
- Indiana State Highway Commission (September 30, 1931) (PDF). Indiana Transportation Map of 1931 (Map). Cartography by ISHC. Section B1–H1. http://bl-libg-doghill.ads.iu.edu/gm-web/imdb/inhwy1931.pdf.
- Indiana Deportment of Transportation (September 30, 2002). Indiana Transportation Map of 2002 (Map). Cartography by INDOT.
- staff (October 31, 2003). "State to give U.S . 12 to city Move will help Gary proceed with planned expansion at airport". Post-Tribune (Gary). p. A1. OCLC 2266386. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
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|U.S. Route 12|