Starke County Highway Department Addressing Culvert Collapse

The Starke County Highway Department continues to find the right solution to fix a culvert collapse on 700 East between County Road 600 North and County Road 70 N. 

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the commissioners that the repair will be much bigger than anticipated.

“The soils are very poor, particularly about 26 or 27 feet below and that’s very bad,” said Ritzler.  “We cannot put a box culvert or twin culverts there.  You have to put pilings down about 50 or 60 feet at least.  So, I recommend that we go with a bridge.”

Ritzler said highway department crews can do a temporary repair.

“We have a culvert at the garage that can temporarily be put in.  It will be only one lane and it will not handle buses.  It will not last more than a year.”

Ritzler commented that it was lucky that a highway worker found the issue a couple of months ago.

“That culvert did not look like it was bad at all.  We’d inspected it during the last inspection and it was fine.  That’s the problem with the loose soils.  It could go at any time.  We’re very fortunate that one our drivers found it.  He was doing his regular routine work and he could see it from the high truck.  He saw it just before he got there.  If some kid at night would have been going 40 or 50 mph on that gravel road, he would have gone right into that collapsed culvert.”

A time frame for repairs wasn’t given.  Ritzler explained that he will work with Surveyor Bill Crase and the Starke County Drainage Board members to install a temporary culvert and look into a long-term fix with a bridge.