Highway Superintendent Elaborates on Plans for State Money

starke-county-courthouseStarke County officials hope to use available state funds to significantly accelerate their bridge replacement schedule. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the commissioners Monday evening their asset management plan to apply for matching money from the state includes two projects.

The first is a three-bridge contract to replace structures on 900 East just south of State Road 10, on 625 South just west of 875 East and on 1150 East just south of State Road 10. Ritzler notes the bridges are in close proximity to one another, which should help the county get a favorable bid on the construction contract.

The county has already allocated funds for three bridge replacements this year. Ritzler says adding the other three would accelerate the bridge replacement program by two years and leave only five deficient bridges in the county. He adds the county had 18 deficient bridges at this time three years ago and notes resources can be invested in road improvements once the bridge replacements are complete.

The second project seeks matching money to buy oil and stone used for asphalt production. Ritzler says it will help the county accelerate the road paving program even before the bridge program is complete.

The state requires counties to put up matching funds in order to draw down the grants. Ritzler says that money will come from their special distribution of $667,000.

He’s also seeking INDOT approval under another program to replace the last of the deficient Yellow River bridges. Ritzler says the county has passed round 1 of screening for inclusion in the 2021 Notice of Funding Availability. If the local bridge project is selected, Ritzler says it will complete the county’s bridge replacement program.