County will apply for grants to replace bridge, rebuild road

Article by Steve Garbacz of KPC Media

Both projects were submitted to state in ’16 but not funded

ALBION — Noble County will try again this fall to get state grants to help pay for two road projects that weren’t funded last year.

Noble County Highway Department engineer Zack Smith told Noble County Council members Monday the Indiana Department of Transportation put out a call for projects for its Local Public Agency grant program.

That program is available to fund much larger projects that are hard for local agencies to pay for out of normal operating funds.

Smith said he intends to submit two projects, both of which were submitted last year but not funded. The first project is the replacement of Bridge 134, a 111-year-old steel-truss bridge located on C.R. 225E and spanning railroad tracks. The other project would reconstruct C.R. 400N going into Albion.

Bridge 134 has reached the end of its useful life. The narrow, wood-decked bridge is one of three that still were standing in the county at the beginning of this year. Bridge 135 on C.R. 175N was torn down this summer and is not being replaced, while Bridge 136 on C.R. 400E was funded by a LPA grant last year and is scheduled for replacement in 2020.

The C.R. 400N project also was pitched last year but not funded and involves tearing out the existing road heading into Albion and rebuilding it to modern-day standards, Smith said.

Currently, the road is a couple inches of gravel with a layer of chip-and-seal over the top, Smith said. The county would tear that out and build a proper base under the road and widen it to handle truck traffic, since the road could serve industrial traffic in Albion.

The work would take place between S.R. 9 and C.R. 150E, Smith said. He added he will check with Albion officials to see if they are still willing to help fund part of the grant’s matching cost, since about 50 percent of the road is now located within the town’s limits.

“They’re expecting a lot of economic development in the area. If they develop that area five years from now, we’d like to have a road that could handle the traffic,” Smith said.

The county received $2.5 million in LPA grant awards last year, with $1.7 million going to replace Bridge 136 and $800,000 to make safety improvements at the intersection of Baseline Road and C.R. 600E.