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Asbestos adds to Belle Vista bridge expense

Fairfield Ditch project starts in June

– Rebuilding the Belle Vista bridge will get slightly more expensive.

Allen County Highway Department Director Bill Hartman told the county commissioners Friday the two houses that will be demolished as part of the project were found to have asbestos. Safely removing the cancer-causing material will add $2,173 to the $688,781 cost of the project.

The Belle Vista bridge crosses Fairfield Ditch, which floods frequently. When that happens, the sewers in the neighborhood get overwhelmed with stormwater and have to be pumped out, leading to the city placing large, portable pumps on the street near the bridge.

In addition to the pumps, the ditch sometimes floods over the bridge itself, forcing the street to close entirely.

Hartman said the bridge replacement project will address many of those problems: The two houses being removed flood frequently, and one of them will be replaced with a parking pad where pumps can be placed out of the way of traffic. The new bridge will be 3 feet higher than the current structure, so it should not have to close because of flooding.

“We know (flooding) is going to happen,” Hartman said. “But now we won’t have to close the road.”

Work is expected to begin in mid-June, he said, and be complete in the fall.

In other business, commissioners voted unanimously to approve changing the zoning on 152 acres off West Gump Road from agricultural to planned single family residential. A developer plans to build about 160 homes on the site of former Pony Town campground.

Commissioners also voted unanimously for the same zoning change for 22 acres off Covington Road for a 60-lot subdivision between two others already in place.