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City sees summer of street projects

Works Board readies miles of repair, repaving work

– Fort Wayne Board of Public Works members Wednesday began the process for a slew of construction projects that will spread orange barrels and infrastructure improvements across the city this summer.

As part of the massive investment in the city’s streets and neighborhoods promised in return for an increase in the local income tax, the board approved two more resurfacing packages, which will bring smooth, new pavement to almost 18 miles of roads. Three weeks ago, the board approved the first two resurfacing packages, covering about 19 miles. Those two packages had their bid opening Wednesday and will likely be awarded to the winning contractors next week; the latest two packages will be bid March 26.

Board members also approved a sidewalk and curb-ramp package for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd City Council districts, which will repair and replace curb ramps and connecting sidewalks at 109 corners, centered around seven schools and neighborhoods. It is expected to go to bid March 26.

Also approved was a project to eliminate tripping hazards on sidewalks that has budgeted $12,500 for each of the city’s six council districts. The project uses a horizontal concrete saw to smooth off sections of sidewalk that have been heaved up by tree roots. With each cut costing between $40 and $50, officials will likely be able to fix about 1,500 trip hazards. That project is also expected to be bid March 26.

The board also approved sidewalk projects for Tennessee Avenue in Lakeside, Winch Street near Memorial Park and Walter Street in East Central, plus a project to construct a triangle-shaped traffic island at the intersection of North Highlands Boulevard and Emerson Avenue near Hamilton Park.

Board members also voted to move forward with a dual project in the Southwick Village neighborhood. The area was up for concrete street repairs, and officials moved up a water main replacement for the area so the streets would have to be torn up only once. The water main portion will replace more than a mile of pipes that have outlived their useful life, while the concrete portion will replace almost 22,000 square yards of concrete street, curb ramps, sidewalks and driveway approaches.

The project, which will be awarded to one contractor, will be bid March 19.

“There’s a lot going on,” Director of Public Works Bob Kennedy said. “We’re trying to get everything going as early as possible so contractors can get started.”

Board members also approved the emergency repairs that were made last week to West Jefferson Boulevard under the railroad viaduct between Catalpa and Main streets, which crumbled with the freeze-thaw cycle.

Replacing 250 feet of concrete cost $137,800, officials said.