Starke County Highway Dept. Staying Busy, Says Superintendent

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

The Starke County Highway Department has been staying busy, as the department recently finished their third cycle of mowing and are well into the fourth, according to Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler. Ritzler told the commissioners that they’ve also finished their chip seal operations, which ended on July 25, thanks in a large part to one highway department employee who stepped up to the plate in a big way, helping to chip seal 30 miles in less than two weeks.

Now, Ritzler said the department is focusing on wedging and culvert replacement and a number of employees will soon undergo training to become certified in evaluating road conditions and prioritizing repairs. On top of that, Ritzler said the department has been busy repairing the railroad crossings as part of a co-op agreement, having repaired two railroad crossings in just three days.

Construction on Bridge 43 on County Road 1100 East will begin soon, Ritzler said, planning for work to begin on Sept. 1 and take roughly three months. Also in September, the highway superintendent said the department will re-stone all county roads and evaluate them for repairs.

Ritzler also asked the commissioners to approve a $41,000 purchase for GPS systems to be installed in all highway department vehicles and heavy equipment, as well as the purchase of a new chipper. The commissioners approved his request.