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