The Starke County Commissioners Monday chose a South Bend-based engineering firm for design work on two bridges slated for construction in the summer of 2015. Jones Petrie Rafinski submitted the lowest price of the four requests for proposals, coming in at $61,000. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says they’ve designed several bridges for the county and will be able to realize additional cost savings by continuing that work. The company is now tasked with drawing up plans for a new bridge on 700 North over the Robbins Ditch and on 100 East over the Smith Ditch.
The replacements are part of the county’s ongoing bridge replacement and maintenance plan. In 2001, 54 percent of Starke County’s bridges were deficient according to state standards. That number dropped to 32-percent in 2012 and is currently at the state average of 22.5 percent. Ritzler says it will drop to 14 percent once the bridges on the summer replacement schedule are completed. His goal by 2019 is to have all of the county’s bridges in compliance with state standards through a replacement and maintenance program.