Friday, October 31, 2014


A crew with Northern Indiana Construction works on the Prairie Street Bridge near Waterfall Drive in Elkhart. The bridge closed in January 2013 and reopened in July. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhard Truth)
Bridge replacements, roadwork, new traffic signals: The highway department did it all in 2013
Posted on Feb. 10, 2014 at 1:25 p.m.

The Elkhart County Highway Department had a busy year in 2013, finishing some construction projects and starting others. The department has a team of 69 employees who are split into two divisions. The engineering division includes five engineers and three engineering technicians that work on long-term transportation planning, bridge and road project design, traffic management and count analysis plus construction, inspection and management of in-house and federally funded projects. The maintenance division has 52 people on staff in charge of daily road operations like paving, chip sealing, striping, snow plowing, bridge work and other maintenance.

Here is a list of bridge and road projects the highway department completed in 2013:

Simonton Street Bridge

  • Location: Simonton Street east of Willowdale Avenue in Elkhart
  • Description: This project was a rehabilitation with replacement of the bridge and installation of new sidewalks and railings. This project was completed $20,000 under budget.
  • Designed by: United Consulting
  • Contractor: Northern Indiana Construction, Mishawaka
  • Construction period: July 22, 2013, to Oct. 25, 2013
  • Original cost estimate: $450,000
  • Contract bid: $339,984
  • Final cost: $319,598
  • Funded by: Local funds

Prairie Street Bridge

  • Location: Prairie Street over the Elkhart River in Elkhart
  • Description: This project replaced the bridge deck with partial replacement of the substructure.
  • Designed by: United Consulting
  • Contractor: Northern Indiana Construction, Mishawaka
  • Construction period: Jan. 7, 2013, to July 18, 2013
  • Original cost estimate: $2.25 million
  • Contract bid: $1.95 million
  • Final cost: $1.97 million
  • Funded by: 80 percent federal aid and 20 percent local funds

C.R. 6 and Ash Road Roundabout

  • Location: Intersection of C.R. 6 and Ash Road in the northwest corner of Elkhart County
  • Description: St. Joseph County initiated the project and awarded funding. Elkhart County partnered on the project because of the common boundary. The original four-way stop intersection was replaced with a roundabout.
  • Designed by: R.W. Armstrong
  • Contractor: Rieth Riley Construction
  • Construction period: July 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2013
  • Original cost estimate: $1.55 million
  • Contract bid: $1.16 million
  • Final cost: $1.21 million
  • Funded by: 80 percent federal aid and 20 percent local funds

In addition to construction projects, the highway department added a new kind of traffic signal to the mix. Traffic signals with flashing yellow arrows were installed at C.R. 17 and C.R. 18. The new signals replaced left turn signal heads for north and southbound traffic on C.R. 17. Street lights were also added to the intersection to improve nighttime safety. The project was completed in November for about $8,000.

The highway department replaced and repaired signs and even installed some new ones in 2013. Here’s a quick rundown:

Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.