WorkOne, Starke County Highway Department Team Up to Offer Worker Training

 Young people looking to gain work experience will have an opportunity to do so this summer after action Monday night by the Starke County Commissioners. They approved a partnership between the county highway department and the local WorkOne office. County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says it will give young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not in high school or college a chance to learn “soft skills” like arriving at work on time and showing up for scheduled shifts. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Finalize Truck Routes

Knox Truck OrdinanceTrucks heading to and from the Knox Industrial Park will have to use State Road 8 for access from all directions. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver met recently with Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler to discuss truck routes. Ritzler says neither County Road 300 East south of Culver Road nor County Road 200 South, which connects to U.S. 35 near Kem-Co, are rated for excessive truck traffic. Continue reading

Knox Council Discusses Truck Route GPS Updates

Knox Truck OrdinanceMaking necessary updates to GPS systems to reflect truck routes is a more involved process than City of Knox and Starke County officials initially realized. Last month Knox started enforcing its truck route ordinance, which prohibits through traffic weighing more than 10 tons with more than three axles from using Culver Road and other surface streets to get from U.S. 35 to the Knox Industrial Park on 300 East/Klockner Drive. Continue reading

Highway Superintendent Talks Truck Routes

Knox Truck OrdinanceThe Starke County Highway Department is keeping an eye on alternate routes trucks are taking to access the Knox Industrial Park while planning for a long-term solution. The City of Knox recently started enforcing a truck route to keep tractor-trailers off Culver Road and other residential streets. The marked truck route uses State Road 8 to 300 East. Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says some over-the-road drivers are also turning by Kem-Co and taking 200 South. Continue reading

Starke Highway Safety Plan Results in Fewer Wrecks

starke-county-courthouseThe safety program implemented in March 2013 by the Starke County Highway Department is apparently paying off. Superintendent Rik Ritzler cites crash data from the state.

“Our crashes in the past two years have dropped dramatically. It was at 196 in 2012, 154 in 2013 and 128 in 2014. We believe it’s even lower than that in 2015. They should be getting those statistics out sooner this year because they have it more automated than they’ve had in the past.” Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Reports Winter Savings

 The relatively mild winter has resulted in considerable savings for the Starke County Highway Department. The nine winter events recorded last month cost slightly more than $50,000, according to information highway superintendent Rik Ritzler shared with the county commissioners this week. That figure includes money spent on diesel fuel, salt, sand and employee overtime. Last January the county spent more than $86,000, and two years ago January winter operations cost more than $130,000. The savings will be invested in road maintenance. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Take Infrastructure Plan Under Advisement

starke-county-courthouseInvestment in infrastructure is critical in order to see future growth in Starke County. That’s the assessment Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver shared with the county commissioners last night. He and Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler jointly presented a five-year strategic infrastructure plan to the body. It includes an overview and timeline of bridge and road projects and justification for plans still on the drawing board. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Award Bridge Bid

starke-county-courthouseA LaPorte-based construction company will replace the bridge on 100 East wet of 500 South in Starke County. The commissioners unanimously accepted the low bid of $319,175 from LaPorte Construction. It’s $13,000 under the engineer’s estimate for the project. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler notes they’ve done the last three bridge projects for the county and have done a good job. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Readies for Winter

 It’s only the first week of August, but officials with the Starke County Highway Department are already planning for winter. Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the county commissioners this week the county’s salt cost has gone down significantly over last year. The county piggybacks on the state’s bid and is able to realize considerable savings as a result. Ritzler says the price per ton has gone down from $73.62 to $65.32. If this winter is comparable to last year’s, he says that will save the county about $10,000. Continue reading