starke county highway department

STARKE COUNTY -- At the Sept. 3 meeting of the County Commissioners, Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler presented a mailbox repair/replacement policy for their approval.

“Any mailbox damaged by snow and ice thrown from the roadway shall be considered an unavoidable event. The Starke County Highway Department does not claim responsibility for such instances and will not replace or reset mailboxes when this occurs,” the policy states. “If a Starke County Highway Department vehicle directly impacts a mailbox that was located more than five feet from the edge of the roadway and causes damage to the box, the highway department will repair or replace the box with a standard mailbox and post.”

The policy also states that it is the individual’s responsibility to ensure that their mailboxes are placed at least five feet from the edge of the roadway and maintained in good order.

“We keep track of all the complaints we receive about mailboxes,” Ritzler said. “It doesn’t happen as often as people think.”

Ritzler provided statistics from January 2015 to September 2019 concerning mailbox complaints.

In those four years, there have been 234 complaints.

Twenty-five of those were repeated complaints.

In the summer, there were fewer complaints with only 15.

Nine of those were due to mower/chopper strikes.

The winter though, that was where the majority of the complaints existed with 219.

The commissioners unanimously approved the policy.

As far as bridge work, Ritzler went down the line of projects that the department is working on.

Bridge 7 that crosses the Yellow River is currently in design.

He stated that the project will be receiving funds from INDOT and the replacement looks to be scheduled for 2021.

Bridge 154 was completed. It was started in April and finished in July.

The installation of bridge 158 on CR700E, .5 miles south of CR700N could be scheduled for this fall.

The utility and permit work are complete, as is most of the design.

Ritzler said that bids for the project will be opened at the Oct. 21 Commissioners meeting.

“Mark Wilson of JPR has done a great job with expediting the design,” said Ritzler concerning the project.

Bridge sealant has arrived and Ritzler said that it will be done soon.

There are a few areas in the county were county road traffic is being studied. Here is the list of sections that are under a speed study or has undergone the study:

- CR400S from CR100W to Range Road. Change to 45 mph.

- CR800S from US35 to CR700E. Change to 45 mph.

- CR700E from SR8 to CR500N. Undergoing data collection.

- CR600E from CR700E to CR900N. Data is being analyzed.

- Main Street in Ora from CR900S to CR850S. Undergoing data collection.

A final inspection for the US35/SR23 project has been completed with the DLZ staff, according to Ritlzer.

While DLZ was doing the inspection for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), the main contractor was Reith Reilly.

In his report to the commissioners, Ritzler gave a breakdown of the different treatments for roadway improvements.

So far this year there have been 8.9 miles of crack seal, 13.75 miles of chip seal, 4 miles of cold in plant recycling, 3.2 miles of hot mix asphalt, and 10.2 miles of cold mix asphalt.

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