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Starke County Commissioners Defer Action on Highway Superintendent Contract

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler

The Starke County Commissioners will revisit whether to offer a long-term contract to Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler when they meet Dec. 1. Commissioner Kent Danford previously raised concerns about the precedent such an action would set. He says possibly offering Ritzler a contract is a “test case” and adds he will say no to anyone else who requests a long-term employment contract until he sees how this works. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Crews Ready for Winter

 The Starke County Highway Department is ready for winter weather. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says the county has plenty of salt and sand stockpiled to help melt ice and make roads passable. Also, Ritzler says the necessary winter equipment is ready to go. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Notches Safety Milestone

The Starke County Highway Department recently celebrated an accident-free milestone.

The Starke County Highway Department recently celebrated an accident-free milestone.

The Starke County Highway Department got through the summer without any accidents or injuries. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says the last one occurred in February of this year. Each employee received a letter of commendation for helping to ensure a safe summer. Continue reading

Work Continues on Starke County Bridges

Starke County Highway Department workers add rip rap to bridges.

Starke County Highway Department workers add rip rap to bridges.

Work on two Starke County bridges should be finished by the end of the month. Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says the replacement bridge on 800 East over Eagle Creek just north of 500 West is halfway done. Work is also under way on the bridge on 900 South over Bogus run just west of 100 West. LaPorte Construction is doing both projects for the county. They will also replace the bridges on 50 East over Smith Ditch just south of 500 South and on 450 South just west of Range Road over Smith Ditch in the spring. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Celebrates Safety Milestone

Starke County Highway SafetyStarke County Highway Department employees remained accident free this summer. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the commissioners this week there were no reported accidents or injuries between June 21st and September 21st. Highway department employees drove more than 89,000 miles and spent quite a bit of time doing road work that required traffic control during that three month period. Continue reading

Starke County Road 800 East Closed for Bridge Replacement

Work on the new bridge over Eagle Creek is under way. LaPorte Construction Company won the bid to replace the bridge on Starke County Road 800 East. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler tells WKVI News 800 East will be closed between 25 North and 50 South for the next couple of months. Take 25 north to 700 East down to 50 South and back to 800 East to get around the road work. Detour signs are up.

 

Road Maintenance Continuing in Starke County

Starke County Highway Department crews are busy this week re-stoning gravel roads.

Starke County Highway Department crews are busy this week re-stoning gravel roads.

The Starke County Highway Department is on pace to meet and possibly exceed its road improvement goals for the year. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says they paved 10 miles of roadway in August at a cost of slightly more than $21,000 per mile. He says they may add to that total by the end of September. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Preparing for Winter Weather

 Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler is shopping for less expensive road salt to use this winter. He told the county commissioners he’s already got one contract in place through the state bid process but is attempting to negotiate better prices with other suppliers who lost out on the state bid. Continue reading

Road Salt Prices are Saltier this Year

 Knox Street Department Superintendent Jeff Borg told the Board of Public Works members recently that the price of road salt went up about 50 percent this year.

Borg said the city gets 150 ton of salt and it will cost the city $73.32 a ton in an annual agreement with the state co-op. Last year, the price of road salt was $48.84 and the cost was $7,300. This year the city will be paying $11,000.

Continue reading

Rain Blamed For Culvert Collapse, Repair Delays

Rain is hampering efforts to repair a culvert that collapsed Monday, forcing the closure of a Starke County Road. County highway superintendent Rik Ritzler tells WKVI News the culvert on 125 West just north of 250 North collapsed Monday. A county highway crew is making repairs but was unable to finish the work yesterday due to the rain. Ritzler hopes they can wrap up the work today so the road can reopen. Until then 125 West is closed between 250 and 300 North. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Waiting on Bridge Inspector

Starke County Highway Department employees paved the new bridge earlier this week.

Starke County Highway Department employees paved the new bridge earlier this week.

Repairs to the bridge over the Yellow River on Starke County Road 700 East are finished, but it’s not open to traffic yet. County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler tells WKVI News the bridge needs to be inspected first. Continue reading

County Road 700 East Could Reopen Next Week

 

Emergency repairs to the bridge over the Yellow River on Starke County Road 700 East are almost finished. It’s been closed since April, when a tree floating down the river struck the bridge supports and compromised the structure. Continue reading

Emergency Bridge Repairs On Schedule

Repairs to the bridge on 700 East over the Yellow River should wrap up next week.

Repairs to the bridge on 700 East over the Yellow River should wrap up next week.

Emergency repairs to the bridge on Starke County Road 700 East over the Yellow River are on schedule to wrap up next week. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Accept Bridge Bids

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler

Work on two replacement bridges in Starke County will begin as soon as possible. The county commissioners Monday accepted bids from LaPorte Construction Company for the bridge on County Road 800 East over Eagle Creek and the bridge on County Road 900 South over Bogus Run. They submitted the lowest of the two bids for both projects. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Chip Seals Record Number of Road Miles

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler

The Starke County Highway Department recently finished chip sealing 47 miles of roadway, which ties 2013 as the most miles of roads done in the last 15 years. They did set a record by completing the work in nine days, compared to 16 last year. They credit good weather and minimal equipment delays with getting the work done quickly and say they have also developed a good system which allows them to be more efficient. Continue reading

Bridge Repair To Start Today on 700 East

Repair work on the bridge over the Yellow River on 700 East will start today.

Repair work on the bridge over the Yellow River on 700 East will start today.

A LaPorte-based contractor will begin repairs on the bridge over the Yellow River on County Road 700 East today. It’s been closed since a tree floating down the river struck one of the bridge supports earlier this year, rendering the structure unstable. Continue reading

Commissioners Approve 4-Way Stop at Sportyz Intersection

4-way_stop_signTravelers in the Bass Lake area will soon have a new four-way stop to regulate traffic. The Starke County Commissioners last week approved the addition of more stop signs on County Roads 210 and 675 East to better control traffic in the heavily congested area. Extensive signage will be placed at the approaches to warn motorists of the new traffic pattern. Continue reading

Railroad Crossing Work Scheduled in Starke County

Norfolk Southern Railroad is closing four railroad crossings in Starke County for repairs. Company officials advised Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler the crossings would not all be shut down at once and say the work will take between one and two weeks to complete. They could not provide exact dates for the closings. Crossings scheduled for repairs are: 700 East just north of 150 South, 150 South East of 700 East, 200 South west of State Road 23 and 225 South East of State Road 23.

Starke County Highway Department Stretches Road Repair Dollars

Starke County Highway Department employees recently made asphalt and patch material for seasonal road repairs.

Starke County Highway Department employees recently made asphalt and patch material for seasonal road repairs.

Starke County Highway Department crews are ready to begin chip sealing roads. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the county commissioners they will start in the Koontz Lake. He says they’ve made more than 6,000 tons of asphalt and more than 445 tons of patching material. Continue reading

Bid for Emergency Bridge Repair Comes in Over Budget

The lone bid to replace this bridge over the Yellow River on 700 East came in significantly over budget.

The lone bid to replace this bridge over the Yellow River on 700 East came in significantly over budget.

The lone bid to fix the bridge on Starke County Road 700 East over the Yellow River came in significantly higher than county officials had anticipated. LaPorte Construction bid $106,872 for the emergency repair. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says that figure is between $50,000 and $60,000 more than he had budgeted for the work. As a result, repairs that were to begin today and be finished by Aug. 15 have been delayed indefinitely. Continue reading