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With new U.S. 24 open, old highway will be repaved this spring

With $4.8 million form the state, county will fund the $1.4 million project and other improvements

Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 6:36 am

Allen County will repave an 11.2-mile of old U.S. 24 east of New Haven this spring at a cost of about $1.4 million – a project that will reverse the procedure usually followed when a new highway replaces an old one.

Normally, the state will upgrade roads to tip-top condition before turning old highways over to counties following the completion of a new road, as happened late last year with completion in November of Indiana's $170 million section of the U.S. 24 “Fort to Port” section between New Haven and the Ohio state line.

But Allen County Council Thursday is expected to approve funding for the repaving project out of county funds – a project county officials say will actually save taxpayers money.

“We can do the job more efficiently (than the state highway department), said County Commissioner Nelson Peters, who said the work will be funded through the $4.8 million the county received from the state when it accepted responsibility for its portion old U.S. 24.

In addition to repaving the old two-lane highway from Doyle Road to the state line, the money will allow the county to make other improvements that might not have been done by the state, Peters said. “The idea was, we think we can do it cheaper, quicker and better,” Peters said.

The state, for example, would have replaced an aging bridge, while the county will simply rebuild the bridge at lower cost. “”We know bridges, and we'll rehab it to 100 percent and save money,” Peters said. The road will remain open during reconstruction.

Indiana's portion of the new four-lane U.S. 24 -- dubbed “Fort to Port” because it will connect Fort Wayne with the port city of Toledo, Ohio – opened in November after decades of planning. The project was funded in part by former Gov. Mitch Daniels' “Major Moves” program, which generated $3 billion through the lease of the Indiana Toll Road to a private consortium.

“It's a good deal for Allen County,” County Councilman Darren Vogt said.