Over the past few years, Porter County Government has increased its focus on improvement and preservation of the over 800 miles of roads in unincorporated areas of the County. Unincorporated means areas that are outside the municipal boundaries of our cities and towns. This has included:
- Chip & Seal on 130 miles of side roads. Chip & Seal is a common pavement maintenance practice that extends pavement life and provides a good driving surface. Chip & seal applications were done in-house by the Porter County Highway Department, providing a 55% cost savings when compared to using outside contractors.
- In 2020 and 2021, nearly $3.9 million in reconstruction and paving projects on high traffic major thoroughfares and arterial roads through the Indiana Community Crossing Matching Grant (CCMG) program. 50% of the cost was paid by the state and 50% by the County.
- All of these projects were funded WITHOUT imposing a wheel tax on residents of unincorporated Porter County or increasing the county’s property tax rate.
In late 2020, the County began to examine the approximately 202 miles of streets in the over 300 subdivisions in unincorporated areas. These subdivisions include small one-street developments up to mega-developments such as South Haven and Shorewood. Recognizing that many of these developments were over 30 years old, the County began to formulate a plan to expand its road & street improvement programs to include subdivisions.
The Porter County Highway and Engineering team conducted an assessment of the structural and ride conditions of the streets in each of the 300 subdivisions. Based on the data acquired in the assessments, a priority rating was assigned to each subdivision. Using the priority rating, the County established a ranking system that determined the worst to best subdivisions based on overall street conditions.
Upon examination of the highest priority subdivisions, it became clear that action needed to be taken. Using a “worst first” approach, the 17.2 miles of streets in the 19 highest priority subdivisions were targeted for repaving.
“This rating system will provide the roadmap for future repaving projects in our subdivisions,” said Board of Commissioners President Jeff Good. “The “worst first” priority rating system is a purely objective process based on data and evidence. This is how good government works.”
With a cost of approximately $175,000 per mile, the estimated price tag to complete the 19 subdivisions is $3 million. The Board of Commissioners and County Council worked together to identify possible funding sources for these projects. After reviewing several different options, the two bodies unanimously agreed to allocate $3 million in funding from the Porter County Government Non-Profit Charitable Foundation’s investment earnings.
“Funding of the subdivision paving program is another example of the continuing collaboration between the County Council and Board of Commissioners to achieve common goals,” said County Council President Jeremy Rivas. “Projects like this normally could not take place without an increased cost to taxpayers, but with the sound fiscal investment policy of the Porter County Government Foundation’s Board, the County has been able to keep taxes low for all Porter County residents while investing in our infrastructure.”
A request for bids was announced, and the bids were received and opened at the July 13th Board of Commissioners meeting. Awarding of the contract will take place at the August 10th meeting.
It is anticipated that the projects will begin in mid to late August and continue into October. At this time, there is no pre-determined schedule for the repaving projects. To assure that the residents of the subdivisions are given advance notice of when their streets will be repaved, the County is requiring that the chosen contractor do the following:
- If the subdivision has a Homeowners Association (HOA), the contractor will contact the HOA and work with and through the HOA to coordinate communications with residents.
- The contractor will be required to attached “door hangers” on each home in each subdivision at least 5 days prior to when repaving will begin. This applies to all subdivisions, whether they have an HOA or not.
- The contractor will also place signs along the streets reminder people not to park on the streets.
It is extremely important that residents remove all vehicles and property including trailers, stockpiles or any other obstacles from the streets before their repaving project is to begin. Vehicles that are not removed will be tagged and the contractor will make an attempt to contact the homeowner. After these warnings, if the vehicle is not moved, it will be towed at the owner’s expense.
The subdivisions included in this project, listed by “worst first” are:
|3||Five Points Acres||0.223||Pleasant||$38,934|
|3||Forest View Estates||2.025||Porter||$353,547|
Warren Woods Subdivision #1
Warren Woods Subdivision #2
Heritage Valley Subdivision #1
Heritage Valley Subdivision #2
Glenwood Hills Subdivision #1
Glenwood Hills Subdivision #2