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Street fixes for Blackhawk get OK

– Board of Public Works members voted Wednesday to approve a $2.5 million contract for about 2 miles of concrete street repairs on Fort Wayne’s northeast side.

The $2,482,624 contract with Primco will repair concrete in the Blackhawk, Blackhawk Forest and Blackhawk Farms neighborhoods.

The contract was approved by City Council members Tuesday; Wednesday’s vote will allow work to begin immediately.

Another project, however, has hit a major snag.

The Ewing-Fairfield conversion project, which will change Ewing Street and Fairfield Avenue into two-way streets and create a roundabout where they meet at Superior Street, was delayed when the board approved a staff recommendation to reject all bids.

City Engineer Patrick Zaharako said there were only two bids for the work, and both were significantly above what was expected.

Currently, Ewing and Fairfield are mostly three-lane streets with sidewalks right at the curbs. When construction is complete, each will be a two-way street with one lane in each direction, plus a center left-turn lane, plus bike lanes. Sidewalks will be moved away from the street; the streets will be lined with decorative streetlights and trees.

At the north end of the project, where Ewing and Fairfield cross Superior and join to become Wells Street, a five-leg roundabout will be built to take the place of the intersection. The Wells Street bridge will be reconfigured, too, changing from three lanes in each direction to two lanes, with a barrier-separated bike and pedestrian lane on each side.

There will also be work on Barr Street, and Main and Jefferson will have fewer lanes. Zaharako said engineers will look at revising the bid package and trying again.

In December 2012, the City Council approved using $3 million in Legacy Fund money toward the project, which comes from the lease and sale of the city’s old electric utility. Officials said money from a special taxing district in the area will also help pay for it.

Board members also voted to buy homes at 520 Wagner St. and 804 Pemberton Drive.

The $41,000 Wagner Street purchase is part of the city’s long-term plan to clear the north side of the Three Rivers Filtration Plant. Whenever houses on the south side of Wagner become available, the city buys them for demolition.

The $60,500 Pemberton purchase will allow city workers better access to the Rivergreenway, a stormwater pumping station and outfall that is nearby and the new wet weather pumping station. The wet weather pumping station pumps raw sewage across the river for storage during heavy rains so it can be treated later, after the sewage plant is back below capacity.