Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton lead agency for regional signal preemption grant

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The Town of Chesterton will be the lead agency in a countywide effort to secure a grant which would fund a traffic signal preemption system at upward of 70 controlled intersections in Porter County.

As Town Engineer Mark O’Dell explained at Monday night’s Town Council meeting, the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission is currently accepting proposals for transportation projects to be considered for inclusion in its 2020-24 Transportation Improvement Plan.

Specifically, Chesterton will be coordinating an application--for either an 80/20 or 90/10 matching grant--to acquire and install a Emergency Vehicle Preemption (Opticon) priority control system for emergency vehicles at all signalized intersections in Chesterton, Porter, Burns Harbor, unincorporated Liberty and Portage townships, Portage, and Valparaiso. The Opticon system works through 911 and GIS to automatically clear a signalized intersection at the approach of a police car or fire engine, by giving first-responders a green light and stopping oncoming traffic with a red.

O’Dell said that the system could also clear the way for snowplows.

All signalized intersections on Ind. 49, 149, and 249 would be equipped with the system; as well as all signalized intersections on U.S. 6, 12, and 20, from county line to county line. Also included: all signalized intersections within a municipality, such as that one at Broadway and South Calumet Road in Chesterton; and the one at Willowcreek Road and Central Ave. in Portage.

“It’s a great technology and it looks like we’ve got a good opportunity doing it as a big regional project,” O’Dell said.

Robinson Engineering Ltd. of Merrillville, which assisted Lake County municipalities to acquire an Opticon system some years ago, will be assisting the Town of Chesterton in preparing the grant application, O’Dell added.

Members voted unanimously to authorize O’Dell to move forward on the project.

911 MOU

In other business, members voted unanimously to approve a memorandum of understanding, under which the Chesterton Police Department will upgrade its communication software and records management system to mirror identical upgrades being implemented by the Porter County 911 Dispatch Center.

Police Chief Dave Cincoski put the cost of the upgrade at $170,000, which can be financed over 10 years, at approximately $18,000 per year. Clerk-Treasurer Courtney Udvare “has been very diligent in helping me work that into the budget,” he added.

Several years ago, the Chesterton and Porter PDs merged their communications system, in an arrangement which requires them to maintain the same technology used by the Porter County 911 Dispatch Center.

Utility billing problem in July

Several Chesterton Utility customers received double bills, while some didn’t receive bills at all, following a system malfunction which impacted the July billing statements, Superintendent Dave Ryan told the Chesterton Tribune on Tuesday.

Ryan isn’t absolutely certain what happened, but at some point during the printing of the bills, “our network went down.”

“The billing clerks thought they re-started the print job in the correct place, and probably did, but we had several customers who didn’t get their bills and some that got two bills,” Ryan said. “We have no idea how many, though. We did think it was possible for the Post Office to have lost a bin of bills, but no way to prove that case.”

“Since that event, we have been working with our software vendor to evaluate safeguards that will allow us to make sure all bills were printed and avoid duplicates also.”



Posted 9/30/2020




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