SCHERERVILLE | Repairing the Spring Street Ditch box culvert near downtown Schererville is a top priority for Lake County Surveyor George Van Til.
During a Schererville Town Council study session Thursday, Van Til said a large sinkhole is developing because of deterioration in the box culvert, which runs near Joliet Street.
He is concerned the problem could cause safety and flooding issues if it isn't remedied.
"Right now, it's my No. 1 concern," Van Til said.
The culvert, installed in the late 1990s, is deteriorating because of its age, Van Til said.
A cost estimate to repair more than 500 linear feet of the culvert is about $221,000.
A portion of the plan involves connecting the culvert to existing storm sewer laterals. Schererville Public Works Director Jeff Huet said that aspect of the work would cost $30,000 to $40,000 more than anticipated.
"The whole thing may be worse than we think," Van Til said.
He said he is asking Lake County commissioners for appropriations to complete the repairs.
Van Til also asked Schererville on Thursday to contribute 30 percent of the cost.
"I would not be talking to you today if we didn't have money problems," he said.
Councilmen at the study session said they are willing to contribute the 30 percent.
Town Manager Bob Volkmann said the town has several options to fund its portion, including using funds from a tax increment financing district.
Van Til said Schererville's commitment shows the town is serious about the project, and it could help him obtain funding for the work.
He said he should know about the funding he would receive from the county within two weeks.
Engineering work is expected to begin soon to obtain a better cost estimate for the repairs.