The Journal Gazette
Thursday, December 12, 2019 1:00 am

City officials tout road projects

Over 60 miles improved as season wraps up

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

With 350 miles of upgrades across almost 3,000 infrastructure improvements, Fort Wayne city officials Wednesday wrapped up the 2019 construction season.

Mayor Tom Henry was joined at a Citizens Square news conference by neighborhood leaders and officials from the Public Works Department to celebrate the completion of more than 60 miles of street improvements. 

“As a result of our commitment, we are making a difference in all parts of our community,” Henry said. “We are building better roads, we are forming new transportation areas for bicyclists, for walkers and for joggers. We are enhancing the neighborhoods with drainage improvements, new lighting, and landscaping.”

Director of Public Works Shan Gunawardena said more projects are scheduled for 2020. A few of those projects include neighborhood work in Tanbark Trails near Maplecrest Road and Interstate 469 and Aspen Village off Aboite Center Road; road work along Hobson Road from Coliseum Boulevard to Stellhorn Road; and bridge repairs over Bullerman Drain on East State Boulevard.

Multiyear projects on Goshen Road and State Boulevard will also open to traffic in 2020. 

A full list of 2020 projects – totaling about $33.3 million – will be announced in the spring.

Speaking to reporters, Randy Hapner, a board member for the Pettit-Rudisill Neighborhood Association, applauded the city's efforts. The Pettit-Rudisill neighborhood was one of the first to see improvements this year. 

“When it's all said and done, it's smooth sailing, and people really like the improved alleys and how much stronger and more stable they are,” Hapner said.

The city worked in more than 190 neighborhoods in 2019, Guanawardena said. Four miles of alleys were reconstructed. 

Major projects were completed on Hanna Street, McKinnie Avenue, St. Joe Center Road, Taylor Street, Sherman Boulevard and West State Boulevard. Large reconstruction projects, which included roads, sidewalks, trails, water and drainage upgrades, lighting and landscaping were done on Dupont and Maysville roads in 2019 as well.

Public Works also performed intersection lane upgrades on Harris Road and Coliseum Boulevard West and concrete street repairs in Caribe Colony, Greater McMillen Park, Oakmont, Deerfield Estates and Hillsboro. There are also four miles of new trials on Lake Avenue, Summit Park and Hanna Street.

Gunawardena also highlighted the Tox Away Day hazardous waste disposal program, the TrectheFort road closure app, the annual Open Streets event and the Great American Cleanup. 

“The Great American Cleanup event started about 20 years ago and this year we had more than 5,000 participants,” Gunawardena said. “Open Streets had its third annual event on Calhoun Street this year and has been seeing increasing participation every year. Next year we plan on incorporating Promenade Park and The Landing into the event as well.”

But what often gets lost among the orange traffic cones, Gunawardena said, “is the relationships that we build with neighborhoods.”

“Our contacts with residents during construction builds an important connection that we in the Public Works division value,” he said. “I thank all residents who worked with us and dealt with the inconveniences, noise and dirt that are part of road construction.”

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