Chesterton Town Council has awarded the contract for a railroad quiet zone
feasibility study to CTC Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas.
unanimously at their meeting Monday night to award the contract at a price
not to exceed $71,427.18.
Two other firms
also provided responses to the council’s
request for proposals, issued earlier this summer: Weaver Consultants Inc.
of Chicago ($225,090); and James F. Giannini & Associates of Chesterton
Member Jim Ton,
R-1st, said on Monday that, after discussing all three responses on Sept.
13, at a meeting of an ad hoc committee created to review them, it was
decided to award the contract to CTC based on its experience: CTC has
completed 40 quiet zone projects for the Union Pacific Railroad alone,
totaling 170 grade-crossings; and has completed 60 other such projects
totaling 450 grade-crossings.
committee agreed that the engineering study will include all railroad
crossings in the municipal boundaries of the Town of Chesterton,”
Ton added: South Calumet Road; North Fourth Street; North Eighth Street;
North 15th Street; North Jackson Blvd.; Waverly Road; Locust Street; North
Calumet Road at Indian Boundary Road.
feasibility study will begin with a preliminary risk assessment based on
traffic history, current and projected traffic patterns, and infrastructure
improvements and transportation issues along the proposed quiet corridor.
With this information in hand, CTC will then perform an analysis of each
grade-crossing based on specific federal criteria for establishing quiet
zones. “During analysis, we will
provide quiet zone treatments that meet federal and state guidelines,
focusing on safety measures that could be used to fully compensate for the
absence of a train horn,” CTC
measures include the following: four-quadrant gates with vehicle detection;
median/channelization arrangements at least 60 to 100 feet in length on each
side of the grade-crossing; one-way street with a gate or gates across the
roadway; and wayside horns.
CTC will then
prepare and submit the final feasibility study
the preferred option for improvements at each crossing within the quiet zone
along with estimated costs.”
timeline for delivering a completed feasibility study to the Town Council:
55 weeks, about a year.
It would take at least three more years, however—and possibly as many as
four—before any quiet zone could officially open in Chesterton: 38 weeks to
engineer the retrofits; 32 weeks for CSX and Norfolk Southern to perform its
own engineering; 13 weeks to hold a comment period on the project; 52 weeks
actually to construct the retrofits and 18 more weeks for the town to
implement roadway improvements; 52 weeks—if necessary—to submit a Public
Authority Application; and five weeks to issue notices of a quiet zone
In somewhat related news, Ton reported on Monday that the Northwestern
Indiana Regional Planning Commission has officially been designated an
“economic development district.”
That’s important, Ton said, “because it will make federal money available
for distribution in amounts we have not seen before.” “This comes at a good
time, now that we’re moving ahead with a railroad quiet zone,” Ton added.
“We can’t afford to do it without grants.”
Park Impact Fee
In other business, members voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance which
increases the park impact fee paid by developers and builders per unit of
new residential construction from $889 to $994: a 12-percent bump.
The ordinance came to the council from the Advisory Plan Commission, which
voted unanimously to adopt it following a public hearing at its meeting last
week. Revenues from the fee—paid per new residential unit—are used
exclusively for the development of new recreational infrastructure serving
new residential growth.
Chuck Lehman of Lehman & Lehman Inc., a landscape architecture firm based in
Mishawaka, told planners at last week’s meeting that a complete inventory
was taken of the town’s recreational assets—park acreage, number of
ballfields and playgrounds, miles of trail—and then that inventory compared
to population growth over the last five years.
Under state law, park impact fee ordinances automatically expire in five
years—the town’s will in February—and must be renewed by ordinance. Lehman’s
finding: $1.3 million in future recreational needs have been identified:
multi-use fields, basketball courts, shelters, restrooms, playgrounds, a
splash pad, trails, and open space. And the proposed increase in the park
impact fee would be needed to fund those needs, Lehman said.
He noted that the average park impact fee for comparable municipalities in
Northwest Indiana is $1,315, so even with the increase the $994 proposed fee
would come in at the low end.