Chesterton Tribune

Poorly maintained private road causing big problems

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By PAULENE POPARAD

Burns Harbor officials are working on several fronts in an attempt to have private Tech Drive, which serves an industrial park, rebuilt to highway standards.

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 several tenants.

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 private.

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

 

 

Posted 4/14/2011