By KEVIN NEVERS
A separated-grade interchange at the intersection of Ind. 49 and Indian
Boundary Road is not presently warranted and may not be warranted for years.
So the Indiana Department of Transportation has determined, and so the
Chesterton Town Council learned at its meeting Tuesday night.
According to an engineering study prepared by INDOT and dated Dec. 6, 2002,
crash data in particular do not warrant at this point the construction of
any interchange. Those data, compiled between 1995 and 1999, reveal a rate
of 2.71 crashes per million vehicles entering the intersection from Ind. 49,
a rate 35 percent below the average rate of 4.17 crashes per million for
comparable “urban principal arterials” in Indiana; and a rate of 2.80
crashes per million vehicles entering the intersection from Indian Boundary
Road, a rate 33 percent below the average rate of 4.17 crashes per million
for comparable “urban minor arterials” in the state.
INDOT has, however, proposed a package of less extensive improvements for
the intersection, which could be implemented this year or next:
•The removal of the “free-flow merge junction ramps” for eastbound I-94 to
southbound Ind. 49 and westbound I-94 to northbound Ind. 49, and their
replacement with “low speed” right-turn ramps which would be regulated by
yield or stop signs.
•The lengthening of both left and right turn lanes from southbound Ind. 49
to eastbound and westbound Indian Boundary Road.
•The installation of additional signage and overhead lane-control signaled
•And the installation of bright-LED type signal heads.
INDOT estimates the cost of these improvements at $245,000, significantly
less than the cost of a separated-grade interchange, which could cost as
much as $55 million.
INDOT is also considering the construction of a pedestrian bridge over Ind.
One other project, initially scheduled for 2008 or ‘09, is likely to be
postponed until the “2014-2020 time frame,” according to the engineering
study: the addition of two more lanes to Ind. 49, a southbound and a
northbound, between I-94 and the Indiana Toll Road.
Bits and Pieces
•Fire Chief Warren “Skip” Highwood told members that the aerial is back in
service after repairs at Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wis. Meanwhile,
Engine 520 is currently receiving upgrades at Pierce, including the addition
of another foam tank.
•Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg informed the council that, while
updating the town’s street inventory, he has discovered that the Indiana
Department of Transportation has incorrectly listed one of Chesterton’s
roadways as belonging to Porter: the stretch of Woodlawn Ave. between
Waverly Road and 15th Street. Schnadenberg noted that for the last 20 years
at least Chesterton has maintained that roadway and recently re-paved it but
that—for those 20 years—INDOT has been giving Porter credit for it. INDOT
has notified Schnadenberg that the mistake will be rectified after it
receives letters from the Chesterton and Porter town councils consenting to
a re-inventory of the roadway. By consensus members authorized Schnadenberg
to seek such a letter from their colleagues in Porter.
•Schnadenberg also informed the council that foreman Bill Reed, an 18-year
veteran of the Street Department, suffered a heart attack Monday but is
expected to recover. Members wished Reed a full and speedy convalescence.
•Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias reminded residents of a park cleanup day
scheduled for March 22, with a rain-day scheduled for a week later, March
29. People who wish to volunteer to police the town’s parks for trash and
debris are encouraged to call the Parks & Recreation Department at 926-3000.
•The Tax Abatement Advisory Committee will meet prior at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24,
prior to the council’s next meeting, to consider the renewal of two tax
abatements: the first, granted to Chester Inc., for real-estatement
improvements; the second, granted to RCI HV Inc.—formerly HV Roll Center
Inc.—for machinery and equipment. At a meeting earlier Tuesday the committee
found the two firms’ application for renewal not to be in order and gave
them a deadline of Feb. 19 to resubmit the paperwork or face the revocation
of those abatements. Chesterton Tribune reporter Kevin Nevers sits on that
From the Floor
Chesterton dentist Virgil Gassoway opened Tuesday’s meeting by urging the
council from the floor to reject the contemplated establishment of a Porter
County income tax. Or as he put it, not “to offer up the citizens of
Chesterton as fodder for the cannon of bigger government.” Gassoway argued
that, on this issue at least, the citizens “have already spoken,” when they
ousted Porter County Council Member Barb Stroud in the last election and
elected instead an outspoken opponent of an income tax, Bob Poparad.
He added that “the financial problems of county government began long before
the Bethlehem bankruptcy,” and provided members with copies of a report
prepared by the three sub-committees of the Porter County Finance Process
Committee. The conclusion of the Executive Summary of the Efficiency
Subcommittee, on which Gassoway sat:
“Until such time, that the county government becomes an efficient well-run
entity, we strongly oppose any and all forms of local income tax. The county
must immediately LEARN TO LIVE WITHIN IT’S, MEANS, AND IT MUST DO SO
The Porter County Council could only establish an option income tax with the
support of municipalities which, along with the county, represent at least
50.1 percent of the county’s total population.