Drainage project on Merrillville's Taft Street delayed

2013-08-06T21:30:00Z 2013-08-06T23:48:05Z Drainage project on Merrillville's Taft Street delayedChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com
August 06, 2013 9:30 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | Stormwater officials want AT&T to act quickly to relocate underground utility lines near 73rd Avenue and Taft Street so the town can move forward with drainage work in that area.

Mark Kaiser, of Christopher B. Burke Engineering, on Tuesday told the Stormwater Management Board that AT&T had two opportunities to review plans for the Taft Street drainage project and notify Merrillville of any relocation needs.

Kaiser said the town didn't receive a response from the company.

Merrillville had clearance from the Indiana Department of Transportation to have evening road closures late last month on Taft Street south of 73rd Avenue to install culverts in the area.

Before that work could begin, it was determined the AT&T lines were in the way of the project area, Kaiser said.

He said the town could wait for AT&T to lower the lines to make way for the culvert work or Merrillville could change its plans and use different materials that would be more costly.

Stormwater officials agreed to continue with the current plan for the project and have AT&T relocate its lines.

Kaiser said the preliminary estimate for the relocation work is about three months.

If it's done in that time frame, it would leave enough time for Merrillville to install the culverts this year, he said.

"We need to pressure AT&T and stick to the plan," said Matt Lake, executive director of the Stormwater Utility.

Stormwater Board member Dorinda Gregor asked Jim Meyer, the Stormwater Utility's attorney, to send a letter to the company explaining the situation and asking for immediate action.

The project delay will result in added cost to Merrillville's drainage work because the stormwater utility will have to pay a remobilization fee to the contractor hired to complete the work.

Town Manager Bruce Spires said Merrillville has encountered issues with utility relocation delaying other projects. He said the town's policy is to ask the agency responsible for the delay to pay for the additional cost.

Spires said there are no guarantees the town will be reimbursed, but Merrillville officials must make an attempt.

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