Burns Harbor officials are working on several fronts in an attempt to have
private Tech Drive, which serves an industrial park, rebuilt to highway
Fire chief Bill Arney told the Town Council on Wednesday that the road has
become so bad, vehicles are driving in the grass beside it and itís
dangerous for emergency vehicles to try to navigate the large potholes.
Associate town attorney Charles Parkinson will research whether the Advisory
Plan Commission can intervene because of prior conditions attached when Tech
Business Center was approved as an industrial subdivision. The commission
meets May 2.
Council members also asked representatives of the Tech Center property
owners association to attend the May 11 council meeting if the Plan
Commission doesnít have jurisdiction.
The POA is responsible for maintaining Tech Drive although thereís a history
of squabbling over individual contributions. Some years ago the town was
asked to take over the road but declined because of its condition.
Arney said last year he forced the POA to mill and grade the road but
because it has an inadequate base, temporary repairs wonít work. He said
Tech Drive needs to be rebuilt --- at an approximate cost of $200,000 --- to
highway standards because of the heavy semi-truck traffic it receives from
Councilman Mike Perrine asked if the town could have the road rebuilt and
assess POA members on their property taxes to recoup the money; Parkinson
said ordinarily no.
Whether Arney as building commissioner or as fire chief can order the road
closed in the name of public safety was discussed. Councilman Cliff Fleming
asked Parkinson to determine the townís options.
Arney said all roads in town have to remain passable for emergency vehicles,
and Hesham Khalil of town engineer Global Land Surveying and Engineering
said Tech Drive is a right-of-way and must be maintained even if itís
C.R. England trucking has a Midwest regional terminal and a semi-truck
driving school on Tech Drive and is preparing to develop a new 250-truck
parking lot and guard houses that will require installation of a stop light
at Indiana 149 and Tech Drive. Parkinson was asked if a building permit for
the project can be issued if Tech Drive is virtually impassable.
Khalil said town code requires development to front an improved road. Arney
said the Tech Drive potholes are so deep that a vehicle had its engine
shoved into the firewall after hitting one.
The POA wants to fill the holes when the asphalt plants open soon but thatís
not enough, Arney told the council. ďI told (the POA president) we donít
want to play with this any more. The town wonít tolerate this.Ē