Chesterton Tribune



NIPSCO explains Fifth Street project

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A representative of the Northern Indiana Public Service Company did appear before the Chesterton Town Council at its meeting Monday--as Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg had promised--to explain a little more about the electrical service upgrade along Fifth Street which has necessitated the removal of 17 public street-trees.

Rick Calinski told the council that a mile-long stretch of Fifth Street will be affected, between park Ave. and 1100N, along the west side of which crews will be replacing both lines and poles. Currently, that area of electrical service combines two sometimes incompatible loads, a larger and a smaller, which don’t work together especially well when the system is stressed.

“It’s a much needed project,” Calinski said. “I think it will be a benefit to the community when completed.”

Crews will be removing 17 public street-trees and five private trees, the owners of the latter of which have been contacted by NIPSCO arborist contractor. “NIPSCO takes tree removal very seriously,” Calinski said. Then, in the spring, NIPSCO will work with the Town of Chesterton to replace the street-trees and perform new landscaping and streetscaping.

Other details:

*The actual electric work should begin on Nov. 9 and the project should take four to six weeks to finish, weather permitting.

*The shift from the old line to the new line should be virtually seamless, Calinski said. “There might be a slight outage of a couple of seconds when the switch-over is made.”

*NIPSCO will try to place the new utility poles further back off the street.

*Work will commence after 8 a.m. each day, after classes have begun at Bailey Elementary and Westchester Intermediate schools. And crews will be cognizant of each school’s dismissal time in the afternoon. Flaggers will be on site to ensure traffic movement is smooth.

“I think every precaution has been taken” for safety,” said Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd. “Updating the infrastructure is important to do.”

Calinski did note that, pending approval by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, NIPSCO will be undertaking a huge seven-year capital investment in its electric service territory-wide, and that Dunelanders can expect to see a number of projects in their communities.

Jeff Wozniak, who lives on Fifth Street, did make a few suggestions about NIPSCO’s project. For one thing, more street lights should be installed, particularly between Bailly and Westchester. “At night you can’t see the sidewalk at all.”

Wozniak also said that his mailbox has been struck several times by passing vehicles and wondered whether the town could install reflectors in the right-of-way.

Franciscan Alliance Signage

In other business, members voted 5-0 to approve the request of the Franciscan Alliance (FA) ER department on Indian Boundary Road for additional directional signage in the public right-of-way.

Clinical manager Travis Thatcher-Curtis told the council that ambulance services which infrequently respond to the ER department have had trouble finding the patient offloading area in the rear of the building. For that reason, FA wants to install three 2’ x 2’ signs--blue background, white lettering, reflective--along Indian Boundary Road and one along Council Drive.

The council okayed the request, pending the receipt from FA of a formal petition for a waiver from Town Standards.



Posted 10/29/2013