Mayor Tom Henry: Fort Wayne to spend a record $30 million on infrastructure this year

The Edsall Avenue Bridge has been closed since mid-2015, but is one of several projects planned by the city this year. The project is expected to cost more than $1 million. (File photo by Kevin Leininger of News-Sentinel.com)

The city will spend a record $30 million on its streets, sidewalks, curbs, trails and bridges this year, Mayor Tom Henry announced Thursday. The plan marks the fifth consecutive year the city has made significant neighborhood improvements and includes more than 500 projects in 178 neighborhoods.

“When I took office we were investing $7 million or $8 million a year in gas taxes distributed by the state,” Henry said. “The problem was our needs were $4 or $5 million more and we never caught up. So we finally said, ‘enough is enough.’ ” That came in the form of an increase in local income taxes several years ago, some of which was earmarked for alley repairs which had been previously neglected because of budget restraints.

Now, Henry added, the city is nearing the point where it can adopt a “pay as you go” strategy to maintenance.

Improvements to sections of major corridors include Dupont Road, State Boulevard, North Anthony Boulevard, Maysville Road, St. Joe Center Road, Jefferson Boulevard, and Ardmore Avenue. Comprehensive neighborhood improvements are slated for Caribe Colony Community, Greater McMillen Park, Deerfield Estates, North Franke Park, Pine Valley, Windrift and Lima Valley.

For the first time, the city is now responsible for maintaining its own bridges following the expiration of an agreement with the Allen County Highway Department. Bridges will be replaced on Edsall Avenue, Washington Center Road and Stonehedge Boulevard.

Sidewalks will be added on portions of North Clinton, Stellhorn Road, Old Decatur Road, Hessen Cassel Road, St. Joe Center Road, Washington Center, Maysville and Dupont. Trail additions are coming to Hanna Street, Maysville Road and two sections of the Pufferbelly Trail will be added between Ludwig and Washington Center and Fourth Street to State Boulevard.

In all, the 2018 plan includes 44 miles of asphalt resurfacing; 6.1 miles of concrete reconstruction; 16.6 miles of chip and seal street improvements; 13.0 miles of concrete walk; 5.02 miles of trails; 2.5 miles of alley resurfacing; 800 concrete ADA ramps; replacement of 3,200 faded traffic signs; 2,000 LED streetlight fixtures installed; 790 miles of painted roadway lines and 825 pedestrian crosswalks painted.

A list of the projects can be found at www.cityoffortwayne.org/invest.

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