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Schererville sinkhole not as bad as suspected, and not county’s to fix

Updated: April 25, 2013 6:34AM



SCHERERVILLE — Turns out the downtown sinkhole in the 100 block of Joliet Street is not being caused by a failing Lake County drain.

The welcome discovery will save the Lake County Surveyor’s office about $200,000 in repair costs, according to officials.

Lake County Surveyor George Van Til told the county Drainage Board on Wednesday that while the town and surveyor’s office initially believed the sinkhole forming in the parking lot of Computer Bay was caused by the failing Spring Street ditch, further review which involved getting a contractor down into the drain showed that was not the case. The approximately 70-year-old cement drain is still intact.

“The bottom line is there was no cave in. There was no blockage in our drain,” Van Til said.

Initially when the town and then the county attempted to view the condition of the drain with a camera inserted through the sinkhole, the camera could not pass. It was assumed at the time the camera could not pass due to a blockage caused by the caved-in drain.

The reason the camera could not get into the drain was because there was no breach, a discovery made by the contractor physically entering and inspecting the drain.

“It was amazing to us what good shape the culvert was in. It’s incredible,” Van Til said.

The inspection revealed the culvert could use some routine maintenance to ensure its continued integrity including the complete cleaning and removal of obstructions from the existing box culvert and the grouting of all seams.

Since the sinkhole was not caused by the county’s drain, repairs to the street and parking lot will be the town’s responsibility. Rehabilitating the drain will be the responsibility of the surveyor’s office. Van Til said that work is expected to cost about $30,000.

The drainage board authorized allowing the surveyor’s office to obtain three quotes for the work since it is under the $75,000 ceiling for advertising for bids and to move forward with hiring the lowest qualified bidder to get the work under way.



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