Chesterton Tribune



Work begins on fiberoptic network, Chesterton RDC told

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Construction has offiically begun on the Town of Chesterton’s fiber-optic network.

As Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported to the Redevelopment Commission at its meeting Monday night, CSU Inc. of Plainfield, Ind., was scheduled to begin work on Tuesday, installing four-inch conduit in the areas of 200E and the intersection of Village Point and Gateway Blvd., near the Urschel Laboratories compex at Coffee Creek Center.

Materials for the project are being stored on the east half of the old Lipinski Automotive property at 1300 Broadway, under arrangements with the owner, O’Dell noted.

O’Dell has said that work on the 13.8-mile mainpath network will be minimally invasive and that the town is not expected to need to acquire any additional right-of-way or easements for the project. CSU’s low bid for the project was $1,233,673.91.

A project of this scope, however, tends to have a lot of moving parts, and members spent most of the meeting sorting two of them out.

The first: a contract with the Norfolk Southern railroad to allow CSU to work in its right-of-way at the “splice point” with Spread Network’s New York-to-Chicago fiber-optic line, located near the water tower in the Villages of Sand Creek. Under the terms of that contract, the town will pay Norfolk Southern a licensing fee of $33,650.

Which flummoxed President Nick Walding. “I’m confused why the town has to pay the railroad,” he said.

O’Dell then proceeded to explain the facts of life to the commision. “The railroads have you by the horns and there is no avenue,” he said, adding that two years ago--when the traffic signal at Indian Boundary Road and North Calumet Road was modernized--the town had to pay CSX $10,000 to work in its right-of-way. “It’s the railroad’s way or the highway,” Member Jeff Trout suggested.

The second moving part dealt with on Monday: a contract with Turnkey Network Solutions of Caledonia, Mich.--price: $840--to assess the load-bearing capacity of four NIPSCO poles on which the town hopes to piggyback the fiber-optic line to get it over Coffee Creek, on the south side of Indian Boundary Road just east of North Calumet Road.

Assuming that the poles are capable of bearing the line, the town will then have to enter negotiations with NIPSCO for the use of those poles, O’Dell said. If the poles, on the other hand, need to be retrofitted, the town will have to pay for that work as well.

The idea of the fiber-optic network: to provide businesses and the Duneland Schools with the telecommunications technology needed to compete in the 21st century. The network’s hub will be located at the municipal complex at 1490 Broadway and will traverse the town’s tax increment financing district. The cost of installing all laterals serving residential areas in town will be the responsibilty of the network’s operator, NITCO.

East Porter Ave. Bridge Replacement

In other business, members voted unanimously to authorize O’Dell to go out to bid on the East Porter Ave. bridge project, under which the old bridge--which crosses Sand Creek--will be replaced with a box culvert.

Bids will be opened at the commission’s Jan. 22 meeting. DLZ, the project’s contracted engineer, has estimated the cost of the culvert and its installation at $568,000, half of which will be funded through a State of Indiana’s Community Crossings grant.

O’Dell said that construction won’t begin until the spring and--there’s no way to sugarcoat it--will require the total closure of East Porter Ave. for something like four months. Detours will be posted and may involve Indian Boundary Road, he added.

December Meeting

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to re-schedule their regular December meeting--which this year falls on Christmas--to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20.





Posted 11/29/2017






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