Grimmer Construction Inc. of Highland is the apparent low bidder at
$1,361,093 to build the new Porter Avenue lift station and force main into
the Chesterton sewage treatment plant.
Project manager Warren Thiede of Haas & Associates engineers told the Porter
Town Council that the seven bids received are being reviewed and a
recommendation will be made at the April 24 meeting.
“The bids were very competitive; we got good prices,” said Thiede. “We got a
call from Grimmer and they’re ready to go.”
Two easements need to be finalized before construction can begin, but the
bids are open for 60 days and one can be awarded pending final notice to
Porter is under an agreed order with the Indiana Department of Environmental
Management to upgrade/replace components of its sewage infrastructure or
face fines and sanctions.
Two bond issues totalling $5 million were sold to finance the bulk of the
work. A reline of downtown Porter sewers is ongoing and on schedule, said
The Town Council asked building commissioner Michael Barry to meet with
Porter Beach residents involved in the Dearborn Street Parking Association,
which uses public right-of-way for private vehicle parking. Erosion also is
a problem in that area.
Council member and beach resident Elka Nelson said it benefits everyone to
combat erosion, and that there are two options for the parking situation:
association members reach agreement and apply for a license from the town to
park in a public way, or lacking a license the town enforces its ordinance
that bans such parking.
Council president Greg Stinson said the involved parties need to agree on a
plan and present it. “We don’t want to get in the middle. This is a
Barry also was asked to address additional Porter Beach concerns raised last
year about parking and general signage/safety issues.
Mittal east gate
Barry, who also serves as director of development, was tapped again to
coordinate a review and propose solutions to prevent traffic back-ups on
U.S. 12 near the ArcelorMittal east gate, which is located in Porter.
Burns Harbor town officials have discussed the problem, and last month the
NIRPC Transportation Policy Committee addressed a need to do something about
semi-trucks backing up along U.S. 12 while freight trains block the mill
Porter and Burns Harbor residents in the area can’t get in or out of their
driveways, and through-traffic can’t proceed as vehicles come to a
standstill on the two-lane road.
Porter police chief James Spanier said things have been a bit better the
last few months, but construction is about to begin on Mittal’s Deerfield
landfill disposal facility which Nelson said could mean more trucks.
Spanier said Porter alone would be hard-pressed to implement a permanent
solution since U.S. 12 is under Indiana Department of Transportation
jurisdiction, so all involved should be contacted.
Barry said his department is investigating whether land is available to add
bypass lanes. Spanier speculated Mittal might be able to rearrange its east
Porter council member Rob Pomeroy said he’s an independent contractor who
works at Mittal and a project is in the works to install another truck scale
there to ease congestion. “Whether that’s enough is yet to be determined,”
he said, noting sometimes traffic is backed up one-quarter mile on U.S. 12.
In another highway matter, Spanier said a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 20 at
Howe Road was slated to be installed today with brief morning closures
planned and restricted lane movement with a flagger later in the day. He
recommended motorists avoid the area.
Also Tuesday, Porter Public Works director Brenda Brueckheimer asked
residents to bag their leaves and grass clippings and to call her department
to arrange pick-up.
lumber tags sought
Nelson recommended Porter follow Burns Harbor’s lead and adopt an ordinance
requiring contractors/homeowners who install pre-engineered lumber during
construction to purchase municipal tags to display on the building that warn
emergency responders such lumber was used.
The joists and beams burn significantly faster than conventional lumber
posing a hazard.
Porter fire chief Lewis Craig Sr. said when the weight of debris and water
is factored in, “If I need someone to get up there to hit the hot spots,
it’d be nothing to have that floor collapse on them.”
Nelson said responders need to know what they’re walking into. She suggested
using the Burns Harbor ordinance as a model to draft Porter’s own. Council
member Jeannine Virtue supported the proposal.
The Porter Town Council voted 4-0 with member Bill Cantrell absent to renew
its annual contract with Westchester Township to provide fire protection in
its unincorporated areas. The cost is based on the previous year’s Porter
call-outs. In 2011 the number dropped so an annual contract price of $5,292
was approved; it’s $1,814 less than last year.