More Culvert Work Needed for Hamlet’s Starke Street Rebuilding Project

Hamlet’s Starke Street rehabilitation project may require more culvert work than originally thought. The town has been working with Starke County Surveyor Bill Crase to extend the culvert at Benninghoff Ditch. That will allow a sidewalk to be added from Plymouth Street north to the trailer park and gas station.

But Street Superintendent Fred Rowe told the Hamlet Zoning Board Wednesday that Crase has run into an unexpected problem. “He said that unbeknownst to them, that there’s another culvert that comes from the storm drain system out to that ditch there, that’s also got to be extended,” Rowe said. “And instead of $5,000, it’s going to be $8,000. And they hadn’t planned on it being $8,000, and wanted to know if we could contribute to some of the cost overrun on the storm drain culvert. He said nobody ever said anything about the storm drain culvert.”

Town Council President Dave Kesvormas said the town would be willing to help with the cost, if necessary, but expressed frustration that the issue wasn’t found sooner. He planned to discuss it with engineer Lee Nagai, who’s been coordinating the project. Town officials had previously agreed to cover the cost of stone and back-fill for the work.

Kesvormas also wants to ask Nagai about the exact placement of the proposed sidewalk, after local residents have repeatedly expressed concerns. “I did another survey looking at that,” Kesvornmas said. “I have some questions for him. He’s saying that there’s going to be space between the curb and the sidewalk. When we do all that, that telephone pole that’s in their yard, it’s going to be like right up against that. So I want to see it, too.”

In addition to the new sidewalk, the Starke Street improvement project also includes rebuilding the roadway between Plymouth Street and U.S. 30, along with drainage improvements. The project is being funded, in part, by grant funding through the state’s Community Crossings program.