Two Bridge Replacements Soon to Begin in Starke County

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler
Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler

The Starke County commissioners this week received an update on two construction projects that will soon begin in the county to replace two bridges, one near Koontz Lake and the other on U.S. 35. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the commissioners that a pre-construction meeting was held on Tuesday to discuss the schedule for Bridge 43 near Koontz Lake, but because they are currently waiting on an environmental permit to clear, the schedule is not yet concrete.

Once the permit has cleared, Ritzler explained, the schedule can be set and construction can begin within two or three weeks after obtaining the permit.

“All the planning work has been done, engineering, the bidding. We have a contractor in line to start the project. We’re ready to go; we’re just waiting for that permit,” said Ritzler.

Ritzler said replacement of the bridge should take roughly two months and will come at a cost of $177,000 to the county.

The other project, which consists of replacing the overpass on U.S. 35 just south of U.S. 30, was let for bids last month. Details are scarce on the cost of the project due to the fact that it is a state project, completely paid for by state and federal funds, but Ritzler did have some details on the replacement.

“We did find out that their completion date is November, so whenever they start construction, it will be from the construction start date until November that the road will be closed. They’re replacing the bridge just south of U.S. 30 on U.S. 35,” said Ritzler.

The winning construction bid for the replacement came in at more than $4.2 million. Superior Construction from Gary will replace the bridge at an exact cost of $4,258,856, and Ritzler said the construction start date has yet to be determined. A pre-construction meeting will soon be scheduled, however, and at that point, they will know more about the project timeline.