offiically begun on the Town of Chesterton’s fiber-optic network.
As Town Engineer
Mark O’Dell reported to the Redevelopment Commission at its meeting Monday
night, CSU Inc. of Plainfield, Ind., was scheduled to begin work on Tuesday,
installing four-inch conduit in the areas of 200E and the intersection of
Village Point and Gateway Blvd., near the Urschel Laboratories compex at
Coffee Creek Center.
Materials for the
project are being stored on the east half of the old Lipinski Automotive
property at 1300 Broadway, under arrangements with the owner, O’Dell noted.
O’Dell has said
that work on the 13.8-mile mainpath network will be minimally invasive and
that the town is not expected to need to acquire any additional right-of-way
or easements for the project. CSU’s low bid for the project was
A project of this
scope, however, tends to have a lot of moving parts, and members spent most
of the meeting sorting two of them out.
The first: a
contract with the Norfolk Southern railroad to allow CSU to work in its
right-of-way at the “splice point” with Spread Network’s New York-to-Chicago
fiber-optic line, located near the water tower in the Villages of Sand
Creek. Under the terms of that contract, the town will pay Norfolk Southern
a licensing fee of $33,650.
President Nick Walding. “I’m confused why the town has to pay the railroad,”
proceeded to explain the facts of life to the commision. “The railroads have
you by the horns and there is no avenue,” he said, adding that two years
ago--when the traffic signal at Indian Boundary Road and North Calumet Road
was modernized--the town had to pay CSX $10,000 to work in its right-of-way.
“It’s the railroad’s way or the highway,” Member Jeff Trout suggested.
The second moving
part dealt with on Monday: a contract with Turnkey Network Solutions of
Caledonia, Mich.--price: $840--to assess the load-bearing capacity of four
NIPSCO poles on which the town hopes to piggyback the fiber-optic line to
get it over Coffee Creek, on the south side of Indian Boundary Road just
east of North Calumet Road.
Assuming that the
poles are capable of bearing the line, the town will then have to enter
negotiations with NIPSCO for the use of those poles, O’Dell said. If the
poles, on the other hand, need to be retrofitted, the town will have to pay
for that work as well.
The idea of the
fiber-optic network: to provide businesses and the Duneland Schools with the
telecommunications technology needed to compete in the 21st century. The
network’s hub will be located at the municipal complex at 1490 Broadway and
will traverse the town’s tax increment financing district. The cost of
installing all laterals serving residential areas in town will be the
responsibilty of the network’s operator, NITCO.
East Porter Ave.
In other business,
members voted unanimously to authorize O’Dell to go out to bid on the East
Porter Ave. bridge project, under which the old bridge--which crosses Sand
Creek--will be replaced with a box culvert.
Bids will be opened
at the commission’s Jan. 22 meeting. DLZ, the project’s contracted engineer,
has estimated the cost of the culvert and its installation at $568,000, half
of which will be funded through a State of Indiana’s Community Crossings
O’Dell said that
construction won’t begin until the spring and--there’s no way to sugarcoat
it--will require the total closure of East Porter Ave. for something like
four months. Detours will be posted and may involve Indian Boundary Road, he
voted unanimously to re-schedule their regular December meeting--which this
year falls on Christmas--to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20.