The Journal Gazette
Monday, April 12, 2021 8:10 pm

Bridge feasibility study approved


A new step toward solving a traffic problem near Fort Wayne International Airport was taken Monday when a feasibility study for a highway bridge over Norfolk Southern railroad tracks was approved by the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission.

The overpass would be on Airport Expressway east of the intersection with Airport Drive, between Bluffton Road and Ardmore Avenue.

Because of increased development in the area, the crossing routinely ties up vehicle traffic because of passing trains, Patrick Zaharako, city engineer, told commission members.

Traffic tie-ups are so extensive they can be seen in photographs on Google Earth, he said. The crossing is in the top three "worst" in Fort Wayne, he said.

Traffic in the area around Airport Business Park has seen substantial growth, Zaharako said. The site is also near the new Amazon distribution center, which also has increased truck traffic on Airport Expressway.

Questioned by board members, Zaharako said the final cost of the overpass "would be in the multi-millions." The study only would ascertain the feasibility of an overpass and provide basics of finished project's cost, he said.

The board voted unanimously to approve up to $50,000 toward the study's cost. The study would be procured by the Department of Public Works, according to city policy.

The money would come from a fund of the Baer Field Economic Development Area, in which the overpass would be located.

Redevelopment commission members noted they would like to know more about possible state and federal funding and use of the county bridge fund for the project. They also said information about the economic impact of the problem would be helpful.

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