FORT WAYNE — City Council members gave preliminary approval to a batch of projects to kick off this summerís record-setting construction season.
The council voted unanimously to move forward with four resurfacing packages, contracts that will have crews mill down and repave about 37 miles of streets in all quadrants of the city. The four contracts are worth a total of $4.7 million.
Every construction season brings resurfacing, but officials promised that a city income tax increase last year would help pay for work on the cityís crumbling streets.
Last year, about 20 miles of streets were resurfaced.
Council members also approved a dual project in the Southwick Village neighborhood at Paulding Road and Wayne Trace.
The area was up for concrete street repairs, and officials moved up a water main replacement for the area so the streets would have to be torn up only once.
The water main portion will replace more than a mile of pipes that have outlived their useful life, while the concrete portion will replace almost 22,000 square yards of concrete street, curb ramps, sidewalks and driveway approaches.
The two contracts were awarded to Key Concrete for $1.4 million.
Mario Trevino, with city transportation engineering, said officials did not want residents to have to deal with their neighborhood being torn up for two construction seasons, so the projects are being done simultaneously. Work is due to be complete by Oct. 31.
Councilmen also approved a $314,651 contract with Key Concrete for concrete street repairs in the Lake Pointe Villas neighborhood at Dupont and Coldwater roads.
While the council enthusiastically endorsed all the projects, members also made clear what they want to see more of: sidewalk repairs.
John Shoaff, D-at large, Geoff Paddock, D-5th, and Tom Didier, R-3rd, all said they hear over and over from constituents and neighborhood associations of the desperate need for work on sidewalks.
Trevino assured them sidewalk work is on the way: the Board of Public Works has approved a sidewalk repair package for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd City Council districts, another project to eliminate tripping hazards on sidewalks by using a horizontal concrete saw to smooth off sections of sidewalk that have been heaved up by tree roots. Officials estimate theyíll be able to fix about 1,500 trip hazards that way.
Also in the pipeline are sidewalk projects for Tennessee Avenue in Lakeside, Winch Street near Memorial Park and Walter Street in East Central.