Officials kick-start Ardmore ‘gateway’
First come the orange cones and barrels, and next come a wider road with a center turn lane, new streetlights, trees and updated storm sewers.
That’s the trajectory for improvements to one mile of Ardmore Avenue between the intersection of Airport Expressway and West Ferguson Road and Second Street near the new entrance to Fort Wayne International Airport.
The work, already underway, is expected to be completed by November.
Mayor Tom Henry and other dignitaries broke ground Wednesday on the project, which will provide $3.7 million in improvements to what they called a neglected “gateway” into Fort Wayne.
The project “will create a welcoming and attractive gateway for people traveling to and from our airport,” Henry said in a statement.
“That’s why the project is so important,” he added. “As our community competes for jobs and talent, we know the importance of putting our best foot forward and making a good impression on our visitors.”
The new turn lane, officials said, will lessen backups on the two-lane road as motorists and truck traffic need to stop to turn into numerous businesses.
Perhaps most noticeable will be a new sign indicating that travelers are in Fort Wayne. With large white letters that spell out the city’s name in a bottom-to-top fashion, the sign is 25 feet tall and narrow and features a graphic representation of three rivers.
Designed by Creative Sign Resources, Fort Wayne, the marker will be placed with landscaping at the southeast corner of Ardmore Avenue and Airport Expressway.
The project also includes a trail on the east side of Ardmore. It’s the third phase of a six-mile trail to connect Jefferson Boulevard and the airport.
From the airport, the trail follows Ferguson Road to Bluffton Road and ultimately will connect with the Wabash and Erie Towpath Trail at Taylor Street and to more than 100 miles of interconnected trails in Fort Wayne.
Mary Tyndall, community development spokeswoman, said there may be one-lane traffic and road closure and detours during construction, including one that is now underway.
She suggested drivers to to www.cityoffortwayne.org/invest and follow a link on road closures and lane restrictions.
She added the improvements are being funded trough a tax increment financing district.
The district, founded in 1996, has a fund into which district property owners pay for improvements only in that district. The cost is not coming from the city’s general fund.
A&Z Engineering designed the project, and it is being constructed by E&B Paving, both of Fort Wayne.