Starke County Highway Department Completes 2018 Paving Program

The Starke County Highway Department wrapped up its scheduled 2018 paving season in September.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the Starke County Commissioners it was a rather busy month with nearly several miles of operations complete.

“We completed just about 53 miles,” said Ritzler. “We started crack sealing and we’ll be doing about 10 miles of that on some of our hot mix asphalt roads. So, we’ll end up with just a little more than 62 miles done this year. We did more cold mix asphalt than we thought we were going to because of the flooding. We did 26 miles of that and we reduced our chip sealing a little bit. We spent over just about $1.1 million in road improvements this year. People ask where the money goes and that’s exactly where it goes.”

Ritzler said October is the month for training as the winter season approaches.

“On Oct. 17, there’s in IPEP Safety Training. We send all of our new drivers to that. We’re sending 11 this year. Mark Ennis of Bliss McKnight will be bringing the driving simulator with a special winter plowing program on it this year and he will also be doing the winter snow plow safety. We will also have LTAP coming down to do that. He’s more liability side and LTAP Purdue is more actual hands-on operations part of the snow plow training.”

Seven employees are also attending the LTAP Road Scholar Class.

Ritzler stressed that the $10,000 extra they do in training each year saves the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run.