Starke County Truck Route Ordinance Set for Adoption Tonight

The Starke County Commissioners will consider a proposed heavy truck route ordinance on third and final reading when they meet tonight.

It looks to maximize three-to-one matching money from the state to pave nearly 120 miles of county roads with hot mix asphalt over the next decade.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says the eventual goal is to have all locations in the county within a mile of a hot-mix asphalt road. Right now Starke County has 10 miles of locally maintained hot mix asphalt roads.

Farmers and over-the-road truck drivers who need to travel on other roads will be able to obtain free permits from the highway department to do so. Ritzler says issuing permits will allow the highway department to know which roads are frequently used by heavy vehicles and plan maintenance accordingly.

Ritzler stresses the need for a funding commitment from the county to complete the local road improvement plan and draw down a maximum local match. Without it he says fuel and vehicle registration taxes paid to the state by Starke County residents will go to other counties.

The county will continue to cold mix and chip seal other roads each year, in addition to the estimated 20 miles of hot mix routes. Ritzler estimates a total of $571,250 in local money will be required each year to advance the plan.

He says the county can use the $250,000 annual Local Roads and Streets allocation and money from the County Economic Development Income Tax fund to pay its share. Ritzler does not believe a local wheel tax will be necessary as a source of funding.

Click here for a list of proposed hot mix routes.

The Starke County Commissioners meet this evening at 6 p.m. at the annex building, following a 5:30 p.m. Starke County Council meeting.