Starke Commissioners Receive Highway Department Update

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

The Starke County Commissioners this week approved permits presented by Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler to allow CenturyLink to upgrade fiber optics in the area, requiring the company to perform work near the intersection of Toto Road and County Road 250 South.

Ritzler also presented the commissioners with his department’s monthly report and said mowing is progressing as planned, with the second cycle having been completed in most of the county. The third cycle in some areas has also been completed, though the chip-seal work has been hampered by inclement weather. He said the highway department is still working on that and has begun work in Washington Township.

Eight culverts have been replaced as of July 1 with six more to go, and Ritzler said that will be completed after the chip-sealing. Bridge 50 is still closed though it is expected to be finished by next summer, and work on Bridge 43 will soon begin.

The bridge replacement on U.S. 35 has been hampered due to the designer’s failure to leave room for retaining walls, and Ritzler said that might have an effect on the final timetable.

Finally, he said three trucks have been purchased following the commissioners’ previous approval, with two expected to arrive in the fall and one in the winter.