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Bridge curbing fails to curb falls

New barriers slated after vehicles plunge from Tecumseh span

– The guardrails on the Tecumseh Street bridge need guardrails.

Allen County Highway Director Bill Hartman said that, like many other county bridges, the Tecumseh Street span has 8-inch curbs that keep vehicles in the travel lanes. Only they don’t seem to be working on the bridge crossing the Maumee River to connect the Lakeside and East Central neighborhoods. It was recently renovated at a cost of more than $3 million.

“For some reason at this location, people are managing to jump (the curb) and destroy our limestone railing,” Hartman told the Allen County commissioners Friday.

The railing has been struck at least three times in the last year. In July, 23-year-old Irvin J. Gates’ vehicle crashed through the railing and plunged into the river. He drowned. In November, Mark Wayne Staulters, 53, and Tamee Ann Staulters, 44, drowned after their truck went through the railing. The railing was recently hit again, though no serious injuries were reported.

The commissioners voted unanimously to pay Engineering Resources $120,000 to design new barriers for the bridge. Hartman said the firm will design a barrier that will line the curbs to stop vehicles before they hit the railings.

The commissioners also approved a $100,000 pact with Fort Wayne Trails to extend the Pufferbelly Trail north of Dupont Road. The group in April asked for a $100,000 loan, saying it would be repaid within two years. It had already raised $200,000 toward the project.