The latest estimate to reconstruct private Tech Drive to heavy-haul highway
standards is about $500,000 --- more than twice the previously estimated
Greg Koszut, president of the Tech Business Center property owners
association charged with maintaining Tech Drive, told the Burns Harbor Town
Council he hopes to have the road temporarily patched soon and by next
meeting have reached some consensus among POA members how they’ll proceed.
If that fails, the council indicated it could meet with POA members and
offer a carrot and a stick: if they bring the road to highway standards and
the town engineer certifies it is, the town could accept it and assume
future maintenance; if the POA doesn’t fix the road, members risk having the
town close it as unsafe for public use.
Tech Drive is the only access for all but one tenant to the industrial park.
The town’s last resort could be withholding fire and police response to the
park because the road has become too dangerous for town employees and
Council president Jim McGee said he doesn’t want to cut off services to
anyone. There are about seven businesses in the industrial park west of
Indiana 149 south of U.S. 20.
Councilman Mike Perrine, a business owner himself, said his insurance
company wouldn’t condone if he were located on a road that is closed or he
didn’t have access to emergency services.
Koszut, who is employed by DLZ, acknowledged the road deteriorated more than
usual this year, especially the east end which was built first. The POA
spends about $100,000 a year for repairs and wants to have a road suitable
for the heavy semi-truck traffic most tenants generate, he explained
Wednesday, but cost is the stumbling block.
So is POA participation. Koszut said he’s currently holding all four offices
in the association due to lack of interest.
Town attorney Bob Welsh said the POA likely has some internal enforcement
options including litigation to make members “whether kicking or screaming
or whatever” comply. Then again, said Welsh, some POA members may not be
able to raise cash for the road and “you can’t get water out of a rock.”
Assuming Koszut and the council can craft an agreement with the POA, how and
when Tech Drive would be totally rebuilt could be problematic itself.
Koszut said the POA would like to stage the work in sections and efforts
would be made to maintain some form of access to businesses at all times.
Ideally reconstruction would start at the Indiana 149 intersection where a
stop light is going to be installed, but no timetable for that project is
known. Welsh said staging the road might cause problems with the town
There was agreement that stormwater drainage, not well addressed during Tech
Drive’s previous construction, must be addressed now.
Perrine said he wants to attempt an amicable resolution for Tech Drive if
Koszut said he would appreciate any pressure the council could exert to help
accomplish that goal. “I don’t know that I have buy-in from everybody to fix
this road, but I’m committed to it.”