Concerning the proposed Illiana Expressway
Conway Observatory and the Calumet Astronomy Center have a unique location in Lake County, Indiana. This site was chosen for its relative freedom from light pollution, easy access for the general public, proximity to electrical uitillities, and Lake County Parks ownership of the property. There are no other properties in Lake County that even come close in quality to this one for the purpose of doing public outreach, educational programs, recreational astronomy, and astronomical research. The parties involved in the Calumet Astronomy Center - The Lake County Parks, The Calumet Astronomical Society, Purdue Calumet University, The Legacy Foundation, The National Science Foundation, the United Steelworkers of America - to name a few - have invested well over a half million dollars in making this the premier facility of its type in the Midwestern United States. It was recently awarded the Outstanding Facility Award by the Indiana Parks Association.
While light pollution is a bane in Lake County in general, the CAC site is shielded from a majority of this by higher wooded ground to the north. There is a tremendous difference in skyglow intensity between the CAC site and the Buckley Homestead County Park parking lot one mile north of it. The Milky Way and faint stars are visible to the unaided eye from the CAC site, yet one mile to the north only the moon and the very brightest stars can be seen at night.
The proposed Illiana Expressway Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement does not in any way address the impacts of light pollution which will accompany construction and operation of this road. While it is certainly possible to have environmentally responsible roadway lighting, this has not been taken into consideration at all - and it needs to be regardless of the route chosen.
Of equal concern to the Calumet Astronomical Society is is the interchange lighting and development sprawl around the expressway
We've developed a unique resourse here, one that can not be replaced