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BusINess » Transportation

Archives for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Wind turbine components part of recovery at Port

Wind turbine fan blades sit in the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor before being shipped out. (Photograph by The Times.)

Wind turbine fan blades sit in the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor before being shipped out. (Photograph by The Times.)

Green energy is creating a boon for the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor as it handles a large set of shipments this season—components for an Illinois wind turbine development.

Jody Peacock, spokesman for the Ports of Indiana, said the shipments have been taking place over the past few months. Most of the equipment is being removed from ships and transferred to trucks or railcars destined for Illinois. Some is being staged at the port for future shipment.

The majority of equipment such as turbine blades and steel tubes for turbine towers will be heading to Chicago-based Invenergy LLC’s White Oak wind energy development in McLean County, Ill. The development is expected to generate 150 megawatts of electricity and is expected to go online next summer, said Bryan Schueler, a vice president of development at Invenergy.
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Biz Buzz, Fall 2010

>> CROWN POINT

NICU coming to local hospital this fall

A neonatal intensive care unit is scheduled to open in the fall at Saint Anthony Medical Center, 1201 South Main Street.

The 12-bed unit, slated to open in November, will be housed in the hospital’s maternity department, called the Birth Place. Staff will include neonatalogists and specially trained nurses.

“This is something we have wanted for years,” said Carol Schuster, vice president of patient services. “With our number of annual deliveries now up to around 1,600, we are able to justify the need and better serve our parents and their babies.”
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Indiana drivers fighting mad over Illinois Tollway fines

Schererville resident Tammy Rauch leafs through an Illinois Tollway violation notice for I-PASS back tolls and fines totaling $9,825.90 that her husband recently received for the family's I-Pass account. More than 100,000 Hoosier motorists are getting bills for tolls and fines dating back to 2008 because the I-PASS system had trouble reading Indiana's new license plates. (Photograph by The Times.)

Schererville resident Tammy Rauch leafs through an Illinois Tollway violation notice for I-PASS back tolls and fines totaling $9,825.90 that her husband recently received for the family's I-Pass account. More than 100,000 Hoosier motorists are getting bills for tolls and fines dating back to 2008 because the I-PASS system had trouble reading Indiana's new license plates.
(Photograph by The Times.)

Jerome Koutny, of Lake Village, likes rural Newton County and his red 1997 GMC Sonoma pickup.

He didn’t like the bill for $183.60 the Illinois Tollway recently sent him for back tolls and accumulated fines.

He couldn’t understand why the Illinois Tollway would be chasing him down, especially as he never takes the Tollway. In fact, the fuel pump was out and the bed was off his truck on some of the dates cited.

“It was just sitting in the yard,” he said. “Even now, the brakes aren’t so good.”

It turns out Koutny was telling God’s honest truth.

Koutny is one of 116,000 Indiana motorists now receiving notices of violations from the Illinois Tollway as it seeks to clear up a two-year backlog of $7.4 million in back tolls and fines. However, the effort to clean up one error appears to be spawning new ones.

“As we mentioned, the system is not perfect and accurate plate identification is an industry-wide issue,” Illinois Tollway spokeswoman Joelle McGinnis said in an email to The Times after an inquiry about Koutny’s bill. “There are instances when notices are sent to the wrong driver.”

The problems all stem from mid-2008, when the Illinois Tollway found it could not accurately match Hoosier motorists’ license plates to their vehicles and I-PASS accounts. For the next two years, no fines went out to Indiana residents for alleged violations, as the violation system for them remained turned off.
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Study: Lakeshore shipping boon for NWI economy

Port of Indiana (Burns Harbor): Leeco Steel, steel distributor and processor, of Darien, Ill., has become the port's newest tenant this year. (Photograph by The Times.)

Port of Indiana (Burns Harbor): Leeco Steel, steel distributor and processor, of Darien, Ill., has become the port's newest tenant this year. (Photograph by The Times.)

Waterborne shipping along Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline generates an estimated $14 billion each year to the state economy and supports more than 104,000 jobs, according to a study released last Tuesday.

The Ports of Indiana consulted with Martin Associates, the same Lancaster, Pa.-based maritime economic consulting firm that called for a study of the economic benefit of the three Indiana ports, to do the study.

John Martin, president of the firm, said the port in Burns Harbor, steel mills and other local industries depend on using the waterways as a low-cost mode of transportation.
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NIRPC plan will guide region transportation for decades

Construction slows traffic on the westbound Borman Expressway between Broadway and Interstate 65 in May. The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission's formulation of a plan that could have a profound effect on transportation and land use in the region for decades to come is in the home stretch. (Photograph by The Times.)

Construction slows traffic on the westbound Borman Expressway between Broadway and Interstate 65 in May. The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission's formulation of a plan that could have a profound effect on transportation and land use in the region for decades to come is in the home stretch. (Photograph by The Times.)

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s formulation of a plan that could have a profound effect on transportation and land use in the region for decades to come is in the home stretch.

The 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan could become the standard for choosing transportation projects for funding as early as next spring, NIRPC Transportation Planning Manager Bill Brown told the organization’s Transportation Policy Committee on Tuesday.

By the end of October, NIRPC plans to choose the core standards, which will part of the comprehensive plan.
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Labor Day travelers will splurge a little

Motorists are diverted from one lane to another Tuesday on Ind. 2 just east of Lowell as a construction crew continues work on the road between Clark and Marshall streets. (Photograph by The Times.)

Motorists are diverted from one lane to another Tuesday on Ind. 2 just east of Lowell as a construction crew continues work on the road between Clark and Marshall streets.
(Photograph by The Times.)

Labor Day weekend travelers not only will be traveling more this weekend, but they also will be spending more, according to AAA’s holiday travel forecast.

“While media reports on the state of the U.S. economy are mixed, many Americans are interested in taking one more trip as the summer travel season comes to a close,” AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher said.

Overall, 34.4 million Americans will be making a trip of at least 50 miles this weekend, a 9.9 percent increase from last year’s 31.3 million travelers, according to the forecast prepared for the automobile association by IHS Global Insight.

But the biggest change will be that those Americans will be spending more, with median trip spending of $697 as compared to $650 on the same weekend one year ago. Although the number of people traveling has increased on each major holiday weekend this year, this will mark the first one where travelers on average will be spending more.
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Hundreds gather for Build Indiana rally

The Laborers’ International Union of North America brought its Build America 2010 campaign to the region Tuesday.

Local elected officials, business leaders and more than 200 region construction workers mobilized near the Interstate 94 bridge over U.S. 20 in Portage, one of 2,000 bridges in the state the group deemed structurally deficient.

The rally aimed to encourage congress to support legislation that would help provide more than 460,000 jobs fixing deteriorating bridges, roads and water resources in Indiana.
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Gary airport director Chris Curry resigns to take job in Naples, Fla.

Chris Curry will leave his job as airport director at the Gary/Chicago International Airport for a similar job in Naples, Fla., he confirmed Tuesday.

Curry was selected as airport director in summer 2006 at an annual salary of $122,000 to replace outgoing director Paul Karas.

Curry’s reign over the airport and relationship with the board has been contentious at times.
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INDOT: Rebuilding Cline Avenue bridge still an option

William Meeks, a technical services director with Indiana Department of Transportation, discusses replacement options for the Cline Avenue bridge over the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal with Rob Pastore, of Hammond. INDOT held a public meeting Tuesday evening at East Chicago City Hall to present 12 options for replacing the span and rerouting traffic. (Photograph by The Times.)

William Meeks, a technical services director with Indiana Department of Transportation, discusses replacement options for the Cline Avenue bridge over the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal with Rob Pastore, of Hammond. INDOT held a public meeting Tuesday evening at East Chicago City Hall to present 12 options for replacing the span and rerouting traffic. (Photograph by The Times.)

Indiana Department of Transportation officials told an audience here Tuesday night that all options still are on the table when it comes to Cline Avenue, including rebuilding the 1.2-mile span where it stands today.

“Nothing has been decided,” said William Meeks, technical director for INDOT’s LaPorte District. “There are a number of different alternatives . . . the bridge, that is still a contender.”

That seemed to come as a surprise to many in the audience of about 50 at East Chicago City Hall’s Council Chambers. On April 15, INDOT officials announced the condemned bridge would not be rebuilt and unveiled plans for building a $75 million permanent detour along Dickey and Riley roads.

Many audience members were quick to pounce on the chance to push for rebuilding the bridge, though many also said they felt INDOT already had made up its mind.
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Illiana Expressway project hits first detour

A June advertisement for bidders for the first project on the proposed Illiana Expressway has been withdrawn over concerns Indiana firms would not get a fair shot at the work.

The request for proposals for preparation of an environmental impact statement was put off in order to give Hoosier companies more time to obtain certifications and prequalifications to do business in Illinois, according to Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Josh Kauffman.

IDOT’s most recent Professional Transportation Bulletin gave notice of the withdrawal and stated the job will be re-advertised in November.
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