City of Fort Wayne Seal

The Board of Public Works approved two contracts this week for two separate projects in the city that are guaranteed to rouse passions in the community.  Before I get into the projects, I want to thank Rachel Blakeman, one of the City’s Public Information Officers, for helping to get the agendas posted for the Board of Public Works.  In an email to her, I mentioned that this board is one of the most powerful in city government whose decisions can have the greatest impact/consequences on it’s citizens.  Although they did not post this weeks agenda before the meeting, due to the holiday weekend, I have been assured it will become a regular thing.  Currently, the agendas may be found on the Board of Public Work’s main page on the City’s website.  I will also try to post links to the agendas as they become available as well as highlights on the AFW Calendar Blog.

State Street Straightening

According to Jeff Neumeyer at Indiana News Center, the BOW has approved a contract with American Structurepoint Incorporatedfor $950,000.  (Ben Lanka lists the cost at $765,632, of which $191,408 will be split between the city and Allen County.)  ASI will work out the details of realigning and straightening the sharp curve on State between Spy Run and Cass Streets.

No one denies the need for this work, in fact, it’s been years in the making.  Somewhere, I had a photo of a map that had been available for viewing at one of the BluePrint Plus Charettes.  Of course, I can’t locate it now.  Point is, that was how many years ago?  So, it’s good to see this project finally moving forward.  The contract still needs to go before City Council for approval, as do all contracts over $100,000 needs to.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge Replacement

Ben Lanka in the Journal Gazette reports:

[…] The Fort Wayne Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved hiring DLZ Indiana LLC to do preliminary engineering work for the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge on Clinton Street over the St. Marys River. The contract was for $634,320, of which the city will pay $126,854.

[…] City Engineer Dave Ross said the firm will not only design the replacement bridge but examine options to limit disruptions during construction. The city this year said the bridge leading to downtown would be closed during the yearlong construction, but public outcry led to a review of that decision. The southbound bridge carries about 26,000 vehicles daily.

Ross said one option during construction is to build a small temporary bridge for $1 million. In addition to the cost, this could present problems such as disturbing Headwaters Park while providing only minimal relief. Other options include setting up a detour or building half the bridge at a time.

While the community decided to go with an iron-truss style bridge, Ross said there might be a way to build a concrete bridge and give it a steel veneer so it is aesthetically pleasing.

[…] Ross said the city plans to conduct four community meetings to provide updates on the project and gather feedback. Other than construction options, Ross said, the community will be asked how best to memorialize King with the span.

[…] Ross said the project is expected to be advertised for bids next year and built in 2010.

Once again, this contract needs to go before the City Council for final approval. 

It sounds like everything is on the table.  I appreciate the public’s concern about getting around town with that bridge gone for any length of time.  However, the choice of final design needs to be based on long-term thinking and goals – not what will get us through a year.  We have a golden opportunity to enhance one of the primary gateways into downtown through a redesign of this bridge. 

The above design rendering was chosen by citizens from three other designs.  It is visually appealing.  One can imagine the impression this will make on visitor’s to our town.  It is a step forward that when combined with the other downtown projects we have undertaken over the last decade will alert visitors that we are serious about moving forward as a community.

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