Chesterton Tribune

Sewer main fails on N. Calumet; motorists urged to detour

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Motorists were being urged today to avoid, if possible and at all costs, North Calumet Road from Grant Ave. north to Indian Boundary Road, after a sanitary sewer main collapsed on Sunday in front of The Port.

Emergency repairs are underway, Chesterton Town Engineer Mark O’Dell told the Utility Service Board at its meeting Monday night and—best case scenario—those repairs could be completed by Friday.

A 225-foot section of 12-inch concrete pipe, probably installed in the 50s or 60s, is being removed and replaced with PVC pipe between Brown Ave. and River Ave.

Woodruff & Sons of Michigan City is doing the work, O’Dell said, but the choice of contractor has this consequence: Woodruff is the general contractor hired by Indiana-American Water Company (IAWC) to install a new main on the east side of South Calumet Road between the Norfolk Southern grade-crossing and West Indiana Ave., meaning that this project will be delayed, although O’Dell is hopeful by only a week or so.

And while North Calumet Road is technically open to both southbound and northbound traffic, only a single lane is open and motorists are being directed by flaggers. So O’Dell warned folks to expect delays if they try to negotiate North Calumet Road.

Best bet is to use these detours:

•Northbound motorists should take Wabash Ave. to Locust Street to Woodlawn Ave. to Indian Boundary Road.

•Southbound motorists should take Indian Boundary Road to Woodlawn Ave. to Locust Street to Wabash Ave.

O’Dell also advised motorists who do decide to brave North Calumet Road to drive slowly, as Chesterton Police officers are on patrol in the work-zone to enforce the speed limit.

The collapse was discovered on Sunday when a residence in the neighborhood experienced a sewage backup, O’Dell said. When exactly the concrete gravity main failed and what exactly caused it to fail, are unknown at this point but O’Dell did note that IAWC had been in the area recently with a trench box, as part of its water main project.

All things considered, O’Dell said, things could be a lot worse: the sewer main is only about seven to eight feet deep, so there’s no ground water complicating the project; and the road itself is “already torn up” thanks to IAWC’s work there.

A temporary bypass is in place. At least three lift station flow wastewater to the main in question.



Posted 4/19/2011