Ire over Little Cal levee work comes to a head

2012-09-12T22:00:00Z Ire over Little Cal levee work comes to a headLU ANN FRANKLIN Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 12, 2012 10:00 pm  • 

MUNSTER | Forest Avenue residents flooded Town Hall on Wednesday to find out when their neighborhood will be fully protected by the Little Calumet River levee system.

Rehabilitation of the levee has been promised since 2009, resident Lauri Czulno said during a Little Calumet River Basin Commission meeting in Munster. She ripped into the commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager Natalie Mills.

“I have been standing here month after month since 2009. And during that time, you have repeatedly assured me that the project to the state line would be finished by the end of the year. That was the year 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. And now we are again being told next year,” she said. “This is unacceptable.”

The portion of the flood protection system was installed in the 1980s and not maintained.

On Wednesday, the commission awarded a bid to to Earthworks, of Batavia, Ill., for rehabilitation of the levee from Hohman Avenue to Forest Avenue. Earthworks was the lowest responsible bidder at $314,126.

Commission Executive Director Dan Repay said the scope of the Forest Avenue project includes repairing the spillway and flap gates. Two of the four pipelines that are designed to redirect water are not functioning and will be terminated, Repay said. In addition, rip-rap will be installed.

The Forest Avenue project is slated to begin in mid-October and be completed in 90 days but could take longer depending on the weather, Repay said.

The commission also awarded the contract for a watershed study, which the commission must complete to receive state funding for operation and maintenance. DLZ Engineering was awarded that contract for a bid of $174,100. The firm said the study will be completed within 210 days from the start date.

This was the commission's first meeting since July, and included two new commissioners appointed by the Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Colin Highlands, of Portage, is nonpoint water pollution coordinator with the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program and represents the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Thomas Gozdecki, of Highland, is senior vice president of Hyre Electric and fills the seat vacated by Dan Dernulc.

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