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County set to spend $8 million on roads

January 6, 2019

The Allen County Highway Department will spend nearly $8 million on road improvements this year.

According to figures provided by the department, highway crews will do 6 miles of gravel road conversions, 63 miles of chip-and-seal work, 44 miles of asphalt resurfacing and 0.7 mile of concrete this year. The highway department will also spend $3.5 million on bridges in unincorporated Allen County. 

Gravel road conversions involve changing a stone road to chip-and-seal. 

One of those major projects is the Ryan Road-Bruick Road reconstruction, said Bill Hartman, county highway director. That project, which received more than $3 million in federal highway funds, calls for reconstruction of about 1 mile of Ryan Road between Dawkins and Harper roads. The second phase encompasses Ryan Road between Harper Road and U.S. 24. 

Highway department staff is working to put together by spring a complete list of projects for 2019, Hartman said. 

“We usually wait until winter is over before we solidify the list, because the freeze-thaw cycle can break up a road you don’t expect,” Hartman said. “We’re looking at resurfacing jobs and creating a preliminary list which will be put out around March for bids.”

One major undertaking expected is the Bass Road reconstruction, Hartman said. In November 2019, the highway department plans to put out for bids a project that covers Bass Road from Clify Parkway to Hillegas Road. Construction will begin in 2020, Hartman said. 

“It’s going to be quite the undertaking,” Hartman said. “In a couple of years we’ll head to the west and reconstruct Bass Road out to Scott Road. It’s quite a project.”

As Hartman looks forward to another year, he took time last week to reflect upon being named the 2018 Outstanding Highway Supervisor of the Year by the Indiana Association of County Commissioners. Hartman received the award in November. He joined the highway department in 1974. 

“It was very nice to be recognized,” Hartman said. “I’ve been here 43 years or so and have been part of a lot of interesting projects throughout the years. It was very nice to be recognized for the service.” 

Bridge work

Bridge maintenance will begin Tuesday on Interstate 469 in Allen County, the Indiana Department of Transportation announced last week. 

The work will result in overnight lane restrictions on I-469 in both directions between mile markers 29 and 31 within the city of Fort Wayne.

The left lane and shoulder will be closed during maintenance on the bridge over St. Joe Road. 

Between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m., there will be lane restrictions, stopped traffic and trucks entering and exiting the work zone.

Lane restrictions will be in place until late January, weather permitting. 

Reader question

Q: “What is planned along St. Joe Center Road between St. Joe and Clinton Street? There are recent survey markers along that stretch.” : Dan K.

A: The survey markers are there because of utility relocation work that is occurring for an improvement project that will start this year, Public Works Spokesman Frank Suarez said. 

That project will transform St. Joe Center Road into a curbed four-lane road section with improvements at Clinton Street and stormwater and sidewalks on both sides, Suarez said. The project will be bid out this month with construction beginning in late April. 

dgong@jg.net

Road Sage is a monthly column. Dave Gong, The Journal Gazette’s local government reporter, provides updates on public works projects in the Fort Wayne area and answers selected questions from readers. Submit a question by emailing roadsage@jg.net or tweeting @JGRoadSage.

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