by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune
---- — Cass County officials are one step closer to getting the deal they want regarding a road relinquishment contract between the county and the state that essentially allows for the funding of almost all of what will be a $10 million road project.
The negotiations have to do with the county and the Indiana Department of Transportation swapping jurisdiction of certain roads to accommodate the new Ind. 25 Hoosier Heartland Highway, which is scheduled to open next month.
Because the state will own this highway, it is planning to relinquish certain roads within the county and Logansport from what is currently Ind. 25 from 300 South on into Logansport, where it routes onto Cicott Street and then West Market Street.
The new Ind. 25 will route onto Burlington Avenue, which will then come under the control of the state.
County officials were hoping instead of just receiving money from the state in exchange for the roads it will pick up, that the agreement would go on to guarantee the funding of what would be the county’s 20 percent match for a grant toward a reconstruction project on 400 South.
The original agreement indicated the county would receive a certain amount of money over a certain amount of time. Because the 400 South project might not be carried out on a timeline that corresponds with the state’s issuing of funds for the road relinquishment, county officials were concerned those funds might not be able to go toward the 400 South project.
”We didn’t want to be at risk of losing our compensation,” Cass County Highway Superintendent Jeff Smith said.
However, the county’s requests regarding the 400 South project are met in the latest revision of the contract.
”That money will be held out as for as long as it takes until the 400 South project is finished,” Smith said.
The project will consist of an entire reconstruction of an approximately 3.5-mile stretch of 400 South from Ind. 25 at Clymers to Ind. 29 near the Logansport-Cass County Airport.
Smith estimates the entire cost of the project will be about $10 million.
Engineering plans are currently in the works by CHA out of Indianapolis. Smith said he expects bid letting to begin in early 2015 and construction starting later in the year through 2018.
The commissioners will vote on the contract at their next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 16 in the Commissioners Hearing Room on the second floor of the Cass County Building, 200 Court Park.
In other news, the commissioners also:
• Approved the hiring of an environmental health specialist at the county health department due to John Weidner leaving his position.
• Approved an ordinance calling for the installment of a stop sign at the intersection of 1250 South and 1000 East.
• Approved an ordinance authorizing county schools to apply for grants that increase safety.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.