Chesterton Tribune



Fiber optic contractor hits gas lateral; South Calumet Road closed

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On Thursday, CSU Inc., the contractor installing the Town of Chesterton’s fiber-optic network, struck and breached a sanitary sewer main in the 1300 block of South Fifth Street.

On Friday, CSU breached a water main in the 600 block of West Porter Ave.

And on Tuesday--shortly after 3 p.m.--it breached a residential natural-gas service lateral in the 600 block of South Calumet Road.

South Calumet Road was subsequently closed south of Porter Ave.--and at deadline today remained closed--after the gas shut-off valve failed and NIPSCO was forced to dig through eight inches of concrete road surface to access the main itself and turn off the gas there.

Although Fire Chief John Jarka told the Chesterton Tribune today that the odor of gas was heavy in the neighborhood--and “quite bothersome to residents”--atmospheric meter readings taken both by firefighters and the NIPSCO crew showed no excessively high elevations, and evacuations were not deemed necessary.

Jarka added that he offered the residents of the home impacted by the breach the loan of an electric heater but was told that they had a wood-burning stove and would be warm enough until gas service was restored.

At 10:30 a.m. today Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg said that NIPSCO had succeeded in replacing the faulty shut-off valve--it was very old, he noted, and there may never have been a need to use it before--and was working to install a new service lateral to the residence. The excavation will then be backfilled and Schnadenberg expected South Calumet Road to be re-opened by 3 p.m.

It was still unclear, however, why the CSU crew hit the service lateral in the first place. “It’s hard in this weather with the snow,” Town Engineer Mark O’Dell said. “The locates disappear, so the crew has get them re-marked to find them again.”

O’Dell did say that the water main breached on Friday had been improperly located by an Indiana American Water Company crew. The sanitary sewer line breached on Thursday, on the other hand, was properly located by the Chesterton Utility.

CSU has installed more than 50,000 linear feet of fiber-optic conduit to date, and until Thursday there had been no issues, O’Dell said. CSU’s low-bid contract price for installing the network: $1,233,673.91.



Posted 2/7/2018




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