Chesterton Tribune



O'Dell reports on needed RR retrofits for quiet zone

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Chesterton officials had what Town Engineer Mark O’Dell described as highly successful “diagnostic” meetings on Dec. 3 with representatives of the Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads, as part of the feasibility study which CTC Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, is conducting on the establishment of a quiet zone in the Downtown.

It’s clear from those meetings, though, that retrofitting the town’s grade-crossings would be an expensive undertaking.

As O’Dell reported at the Town Council’s meeting Monday night, he, CTC, and the Federal Railroad Administration met with Norfolk Southern and CSX in shifts, with the former in the morning and the latter in the afternoon.

Results from those meetings:

--The grade-crossing on South Calumet Road would require the installation of a “quad gate”--four gates which would preclude motorists from going around a stop arm--as well as bollards at the southwest corner of the Northside Diner parking lot. The total cost of quad gate and bollards could be in the six figures.

--At the North Fourth Street, North Eighth Street, North 15th Street, and North Jackson Blvd. grade-crossings, raised concrete medians would need to be erected for a distance of 60 to 100 feet on either side of the crossing.

--At CSX’s North 15th Street grade-crossing, a concrete median would need to be erected.

--At CSX’s Waverly Road grade-crossing, a complete system upgrade would need to be done.

--At CSX’s Locust Street grade-crossing, a concrete median and a curb would need to be erected.

CSX’s grade-crossing at Indian Boundary Road and North Calumet Road, though, is the “elephant in the room,” O’Dell said. There’s really not enough space there to permit of much retrofitting, as--for instance--the traffic island immediately south of the crossing would preclude the erection of any concrete median.

The smart thing to do may be to remove that grade-crossing from the project list, O’Dell added. “There are only six to eight trains there per day. That may be the reason to take it out of the project.”

In any case, the two meetings went well, O’Dell said. “They were very good. The railroads were great to work with.”

Brassie Golf Balls

In other business, Pearson Road resident Evelyn Komenas returned to the council, to ask whether the Brassie Golf Course ever replied to its Sept. 18 letter requesting that management take action to prevent errant golf balls from the driving range to overfly the net and hit her house.

“It was a pretty good letter,” Komenas said. “But a couple of weeks later I almost got hit by two balls in my front yard.”

Associate Town Attorney Connor Nolan told Komenas that the town has received no response from the Brassie.

“Are you going to ask them to respond or what?” Komenas pressed “Because spring is coming.”

“Spring is coming,” agreed Member Nate Cobbs, R-4th. “But let’s give it 30 to 60 days. The county is on it. If we haven’t heard anything, come back.”

Member Jim Ton, R-1st, without being specific, sited rumors he’s heard which, he said, could change matters significantly. “There’s a lot of rumors about the property there. It may resolve itself. It may prove a moot point.”


Posted 12/11/2019




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