Changing Future of State Boulevard

By Maureen Mespell
By Max Resnik

April 4, 2012 Updated Apr 4, 2012 at 5:23 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The City of Fort Wayne is inching closer to finalizing plans that will begin another major roads project that will widen and straighten State Boulevard.

The construction, set to begin in 2013, will focus on widening State Boulevard from its current two-lane format to a four-lane format. Additionally, the City will soften the curves on State Boulevard by Eastbrook and Westbrook Drives. The project is also being performed in conjunction with work on the Spy Run Creek bridge, which is being raised more than seven feet to combat annual flooding issues.

Tom Cain, urban designer for the City of Fort Wayne, says issues of congestion and safety were driving factors for making the changes to State Boulevard.

“State Boulevard has terrible congestion problems, especially with Clinton Street and Spy Run Avenue. It also has a number of safety problems because of the tight curves that were built into this when it was laid out nearly 100 years ago.”

Cain says he and city engineers are addressing concerns over the historic character of the area, which for some community members has been a touchy issue.

"We want this area to feel very much like you're passing through a neighborhood. So it will have the typical elements of park strips and street trees and ornamental lighting, sidewalks and even a multi-use path on the south side so that anyone who is driving through this area, or walking or biking through this area, feels like they're connected to the neighborhood."

Homes on Westbrook Drive have already been purchased by the City of Fort Wayne for greater flood control. Eastbrook Drive homes were being purchased for flood control purposes as well. That endeavor was paused however once the State Boulevard planning began because of federal funding issues.

"We've already purchased property on Westbrook, but the continued purchase of properties on Eastbrook has been stopped for the moment until the details of the State Boulevard project get worked out."

The first phase of the project will focus on the area between Spy Run Avenue and Clinton Street. The second phase, expected to begin in 2014, will focus on the area between Clinton Street and Cass Street.

The total cost of the project is $11 million with 80 percent of the funds coming from the federal government.

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