Chesterton Tribune



Schnadenberg: 23rd St. sinkhole an expensive headache for town

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Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg hasn’t yet tallied the full cost of repairing the sinkhole which opened beneath the sidewalk on 23rd Street late last month, but he knows this much: the bill for de-watering the site, just to get a contractor into the hole, will run about $12,000.

So he reported to the Stormwater Management Board at its meeting Monday evening.

The sinkhole formed during a spectacular rain on Saturday, May 23, when a 36-inch PVC stormwater pipe failed at the seam just north of Washington Ave. That pipe is part of the system draining Texas Street, Westchester Village on the Green, Dogwood Park and at least half of Western Acres, so when all that water entered the system a vast quantity of dirt and gravel tumbling into the pipe from the breach was washed away, undermining and then collapsing the sidewalk.

"What a challenge,” Schnadenberg remarked.

It took a crew about a week of bypass-pumping just to flush out the stormwater system south of the sinkhole, he told the board. “A lot of hours after hours manning that hose.”

Then, when a contractor actually began excavating to expose the pipe, “at 10 feet it was like we hit a spring, there was so much groundwater,” Schnadenberg said. So another contractor was hired to drop well points around the site to de-water it. That took three days.

Finally the first contractor was able to get to the bottom of the sinkhole and repair the pipe.

But still there was work to be done, Schnadenberg said. All of the silt and debris which had gushed into the system north of the sinkhole had to be jetted out, with the invaluable assistance of the Utility, which provided the equipment, and of the Fire Department, which provided a tanker to keep the jetting apparatus supplied with water.

“Now we’ll have to camera it and see what the rest of the line looks like,” Schnadenberg concluded his report.

West Porter Ave. at 21st Street

In other business, Member Victoria Wittig had bad news of her own. It appears as though there may be a pipe failure somewhere in the area of West Porter Ave. and 21st Street, where it seems that sod is beginning to separate and sink.

Schnadenberg said that he’s aware of the issue and is looking into it. He did note that the stormwater pipe in question is very nearly brand new, installed a few years ago when the ditch on the north side of West Porter Ave. was piped and in-filled.

Easton Park

Meanwhile, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported that some fixes have been made at Easton Park, where runoff from high ground to the south has been flowing northwest over the new roadways and causing erosion issues.

The developer brought in a contractor to grade the fields to the south and east and a large berm and drainage structure were installed.

“I think it will help stop the runoff from running onto the roads,” O’Dell said.

May in Review

In May the Stormwater Utility ran a deficit of $4,406 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $44,387.


Posted 6/16/2020




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