Work on the Yellow River project could begin soon, according to Starke County Surveyor Dennis Estok, who says the project will address two problems.
“We’ll be pulling out a lot of the fallen trees in the river,” explained Estok. “They do a lot of damage and they’ve ruined a lot of banks. A lot of landowners have lost a lot of ground because of this. It’s not only that, it’s the recreation aspect. I know a lot of people who canoe and they do not hardly travel that route because of the many fallen trees.”
Trees will be removed from the river beginning at the U.S. 35 bridge in Knox to the Starke – Marshall line.
The surveyor and the construction company are waiting on when the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) will release the grant funds for the project. The answer to that won’t be known for another two weeks.
“Once that is complete and we have the funds, then we will have a preconstruction meeting with the contractor who was the low bid on the project and get the contract signed. It will be up to him as far as when he wants to start,” Estok said.
Thomas Excavating out of Argos hopes to get started as soon as possible on this project. Estok said they’re working with the farmers now to get a jump on the project.
“We’re working with the farmers because there’s a lot of farm ground and they’ve got their crops so we’re going to get into the places that we can get into without doing any damage. Then we’ll be back probably in the fall to finish up when the crops come out,” said Estok.
Estok said now is a great time to get this project started because the water levels are so low.
“This is a great time to do it and this is why I’ve been trying to push OCRA to release the funds so we can get going. We don’t want to wait until late fall because if we get the rains like we normally do and the river comes up it will be more difficult to do,” Estok explained. “We’re trying to push things.”
The total cost of the project is approximately $160,000.