Chesterton Tribune



CPD closes 49 intersections to allow town to clean INDOT snowy signals

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The Chesterton Police Department temporarily closed all signal-regulated intersections in the southbound lanes of Ind. 49 on Thursday, to allow the Street Department to clean INDOT’s snow-covered traffic signals.

The cleanup was conducted almost 24 hours after the first of two accidents on Wednesday attributable to the obscured signals: all of them north-facing--affecting southbound traffic--caked with the wet heavy snow blown out of the north during the blizzard earlier in the day.

Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg told the Chesterton Tribune today that even a day after the CPD first reported to INDOT that its signals on Ind. 49 were covered with snow, INDOT was unable to say when a crew would be available to clean them, as the same problem was affecting signals throughout Northwest Indiana.

“There were too many near-misses with semis blowing through the intersections,” Schnadenberg said, so at 11 a.m. Police Chief Dave Cincoski ordered the intersections at Indian Boundary Road, East Porter Ave., 1100N, and the Indiana Toll Road closed, to allow a crew to deploy the Street Department’s bucket truck. “And we cleaned the signals ourselves.”

“There’s not a doubt in my mind that we prevented a serious injury out there,” Schnadenberg said. “It was such a dangerous situation we felt we had to intervene.”

Schnadenberg also made a prediction: this problem is technology driven and will occur again, because the modern LED lights in the signals “don’t generate enough heat to melt the snow.”

“It’s a statewide issue,” he said.

The first crash on Wednesday occurred at 12:49 p.m., the second at 5:11 p.m. Both were caused by southbound motorists unable to determine the color of the traffic signal as they approached the intersection. In the first case a motorist was rear-ended as she abruptly stopped for an obscured signal at 1100N. In the second case a motorist--believing he had a green light but “having trouble seeing what color” it actually was--entered the intersection at the Indiana Toll Road and collided with a second vehicle turning left from the Toll Road plaza.

No one was injured in either crash.


Posted 3/24/2014




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