Starke County was among the first to have the required road and bridge asset management plan and project list ready for the state transportation grant application process. However, they’re still waiting to find out how much 50/50 matching money they will get for road and bridge projects. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the county commissioners the original June 29th deadline was delayed because a lot of communities didn’t have the required plans together.
That pushes the awarding of grant funds back to late August, which Ritzler says will be too late in the year to start paving projects.
“That really put us in a bind, because we were ready to go,” Ritzler said. “And more communities now are going to be involved in getting the money, so we may lose out on some. We may not get the full match because more communities are doing that. They weren’t ready. They warned us for a couple years to get asset management in place, and I think it’s going to kind of hurt us a little bit that other places did not have that in place and they gave them the extended time.”
If the state funds Starke County’s bridge projects, Ritzler says they can still be completed this year. However, he says any money for road projects will likely have to be deferred until spring.