Chesterton Tribune



Officials lambaste Frontier for work stoppage on culvert job

Back To Front Page



Work on the East Porter Ave. bridge replacement project has ground to a halt, one week after the box culvert spanning Sand Creek was delivered and installed.

The reason: Frontier Communications still--still--has not re-located two utility lines in the project site: one, an underground fiber optic line; the other, an above-ground telephone line.

At the moment the project’s contractor, Grimmer Construction Inc. of Highland, is unable to work around Frontier’s infrastructure and is unable to install the culvert’s wing walls, Chesterton Town Engineer Mark O’Dell told the Redevelopment Commission at its meeting Monday night.

And the already once extended permit issued to the town by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources--for working in a salmonid stream--is due to expire on Aug. 18, after which, O’Dell fears, “The DNR could say, ‘You can’t work any longer in the stream. Come back in late fall.’”

Frontier was advised of the need to re-locate the two utility lines in November 2017 and was further advised in March to begin the procurement process for the materials required. But Frontier has evinced a notable lack of urgency and a distinct unresponsiveness in the matter, and officials are angry.

“Frontier is inconveniencing hundreds, if not thousands, of our residents, who aren’t able to use that road,” President Jeff Trout said of the ongoing closure of East Porter Ave. between Dickinson Road and 250E. “It’s a shame. Because of their neglect and non-performance, they’ve brought work to standstill.”

“This company has been completely irresponsible concerning this matter,” Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann said. “Frontier has not responded to correspondence sent out a month ago. They’ve known about this since Feb. 17. They approved a plan for the re-location but never followed through with it. This is not a simple project and one party is holding things up.”

By consensus members instructed Lukmann to pursue all options in getting Frontier off the dime. “In the strongest possible terms, do what you have to do,” Trout urged Lukmann.

“Go for the neck,” Member Emerson DeLaney added.

Until the box culvert is open for business, motorists will be forced to continue to detour the East Porter Ave. closure: motorists eastbound on East Porter Ave. are being sent south on Dickinson Road, east on Sidewalk Road, north on 250E, then back to East Porter Ave.; the detour is simply reversed for motorists westbound on East Porter Ave.

The contract price: $619,370.20, a portion of which is being defrayed by a Community Crossings state infrastructure grant.

Paving Jobs Done

Meanwhile, two other projects partially funded by the Community Crossings grant have been completed: the re-pave of South Calumet Road between Porter Ave. and the Chesterton Post Office; and more recently the re-pave of Wabash Ave. from North Calumet Road to Waverly Road and then of Waverly Road north to Woodlawn Ave.

The Wabash Ave. job was finished last week, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported, and “it turned out pretty good.”

So good, in fact, that Trout wondered whether Police Chief Dave Cincoski and his patrol officers have observed an uptick in speeding on Wabash Ave. prompted by the silky smoothness of the roadway.

Fiber Optic

In other business, O’Dell reported that work on the fiber optic network is nearly complete, but for linking the network installed on the south side of the three railroad lines to that on the north side. To that end members voted unanimously to release funds for the necessary permit application fees:

* $6,400 to CSX to process two applications, one for crossing its line on North 15th Street, the other for crossing its line on Waverly Road.

* And $2,000 to Norfolk Southern to process the application for crossing its line on North 15th Street.

The Amtrak line, on the other hand, has proved a more difficult nut to crack. “We’re still dealing with Amtrak,” O’Dell said. “That’s been very hard.”

How hard? Amtrak’s permit application is 86 pages long.


Posted 7/24/2018




Search This Site:

Custom Search