For years, the section of State Boulevard between Cass and Clinton streets has seen congestion, backups, and crashes. City engineers and officials now hope Phase II of a major improvement project there will change that.
“Our continued commitment to making lasting and meaningful infrastructure improvements is having a positive impact,” said Mayor Henry. “The next phase of the State Boulevard project will enhance the surrounding neighborhoods and assist us in our proactive economic development efforts to bring new business investments to Fort Wayne and build upon the strong employer base we currently have.”
Mayor Henry, neighborhood residents, City Council members, INDOT staff, and Fort Wayne Public Works representatives gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off Phase II Thursday.
WANE 15 has been tracking the progress of the $8.2 million project since Phase I began in April 2018. Federal funding covers 80 percent of the project, while the other 20 percent is covered by the City of Fort Wayne.
The first phase focused on State Boulevard from Spy Run Avenue to Clinton Street. It improved several traffic, sidewalk, and aesthetic aspects of the area.
Crews also did prep work on utility, water, and gas lines through the area in 2018 that closed a section of State for months.
Phase II will finish the job and shift efforts to the stretch of State between Cass and Clinton streets.
“We started planning this project about 12 years ago, and I’m glad to see us moving into the new phase of the project. It took a lot of planning and working with various neighborhoods and groups. In the end, I believe we have a design that we can all be proud of,” said Shan Gunawardena, Director of the Public Works Division for the City of Fort Wayne.
Construction crews will completely rebuild that section of road and straighten a curve that has been a problem spot for decades.
The new stretch of road will be to the south of where the current curve is.
The project will also replace the crumbling, 90-year-old bridge over Spy Run Creek. Both of those efforts aim to alleviate traffic congestion, improve traffic flow, and reduce flooding on the roadway.
Other aspects of the project will improve pedestrian safety, while also beautifying the area. Those improvements include landscaping on both sides of the street and in a center median, decorative street lighting, and new and improved crosswalks and sidewalks.
Perhaps two of the most exciting features of the project for people living in the area are a landscaped green space to separate the new Spy Run Creek bridge from the current curve, and a pedestrian bridge over State that will allow for safer and easier travel by foot.
City officials hope to have the project complete sometime in 2020. State Boulevard is supposed to be drivable for all of 2019.