Chesterton Tribune

49 corridor project to go out to bid soon; 'We must go on'

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Whether or not the Porter County Council decides to contribute $900,000 to the Ind. 49 utility corridor project, ground is going to break on that project this year.

At its meeting Monday night, the Chesterton Utility Service Board unanimously voted its willingness and readiness to go out for bids now.

Contracted project engineer DVG Inc. has estimated that it will cost around $3.6 million to extend sanitary sewer and other infrastructure beneath the Indiana Toll Road as far south as the town’s southernmost corporate limit.

It would cost another estimated $900,000 to upsize the lines enough to serve anticipated commercial development in unincorporated Liberty Township. The Porter County Commissioners voted 2-1 to endorse the expenditure of that $900,000 but the Porter County Council has yet to make a decision.

It will not be possible to provide sanitary sewer service outside of town to unincorporated Liberty Township property owners unless those lines are upsized.

In the meantime, the Town of Chesterton wants to proceed and will do so. “We must go on,” Town Council Member Sharon Darnell, D-4th, said on Monday. “We can’t lose another construction season.”

President Larry Brandt did note that, at a recent Porter County Council meeting, numerous Liberty Township residents spoke against the $900,000 partnership. “Most were negative,” he said. “They didn’t support the project.”

On the other hand, Brandt said, so far as he can tell from the candidate stories published in the Chesterton Tribune over the last few weeks, no candidate has actually gone on the record in out-and-out opposition to the corridor project.

New Bridges, Main Relocates

In other business, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported that two Porter County Highway projects, just coming on the radar, are expected to force the Utility to relocate a pair of sanitary sewer mains.

Both are bridge replacements: one on 1100N east of WiseWay Foods, the other on East Porter Ave. near Chesterton Cemetery.

The county is right now mulling the replacement of each bridge, on each of which the Utility has physically fixed a sewer main. Both mains would have to be re-located, O’Dell said.

In the case of the 1100N bridge, the main would probably have to be moved on the Utility’s dime. That may not be the case with the East Porter Ave. bridge, O’Dell added.

Bond Issue, Finis

Meanwhile, O’Dell reported that the 2009 bond issue is all over, bar the shouting. Around $200 remains of the $2.166 million issue.

A number of high-profile projects were not completed under the issue, in particular the repair of a main serving the Morningside subdivision. O’Dell said that he will provide an updated list of completed projects at the Service Board’s next meeting.

Four general categories of project were funded through the issue: collection system work, including the South Calumet Road separation and replacement project, with a total price tag of around $1,282,224.40; equipment purchases, including backup generators, a crane truck, and a new camera system, at $542,105.71; plant improvements, at $83,501.16; and administrative and legal fees, at $37,364.37.

Access Drive

at Duneland Cove

It will cost something like $17,000 to upgrade the access drive to the Duneland Cove lift station, after the weight of the Utility’s heavy vehicles caused the brick pavers over time to crumble, Superintendent Rob Lovell reported.

The cost includes the removal of the old pavers and the construction of a new 115-foot concrete drive designed to support the weight of the Utility’s largest truck, Lovell said.

The Service Board had originally wanted to build a concrete drive but Duneland Cove residents objected and a compromise was reached under which pavers were used instead.

Influent Pump

Lovell told the Service Board that the plant’s No. 2 influent pump has been sent for service at an estimated cost of $12,000.

“We’ve also ordered a second set of repair parts for spares, to help speed up repairs the next time one of these influent pumps needs to be repaired,” Lovell said.

Park Department Credit

Members voted 5-0 to give the Chesterton Parks and Recreation Department a credit of $909.50, after O’Dell reported that a water leak at Dogwood Park was detected and repaired.

“We calculated how much we charged for water that never made it to the plant,” O’Dell said.

Billing Clerk Donna Simmers noted that similar adjustments have been made in the past for customers. “If we don’t treat it, we can adjust it out,” she said.

Positions Filled

Two open positions in the Utility have been filled, Lovell reported, one of them by a Street Department employee who transferred to the Utility. The other new hire will begin work on April 23.

Monthly Report

In March, Chesterton used 45.55 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment at the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 51.49 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 71.77 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 46.41 percent of its capacity.

There were 2.51 inches of precipitation in March and no bypasses.

Last month the Utility ran a surplus of $130,306.54 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $161,459.07.



Posted 4/17/2012