Over $9.5 Million in Aid Announced for Road Projects

KENDALLVILLE — By 2025, the entire Drake Road corridor between Main Street and S.R. 3 will be overhauled.

On Monday, Kendallville received notification from the Indiana Department of Transportation that the second phase of the Drake Road project received funding — $3,614,884.

Monday was also a good day for Noble County, which received more than $6 million in grant funding for three bridge and one road project.

In 2017, the city had applied for approximately $6 million to rebuild the entire corridor between Main Street and S.R. 3 — to install new curbs and gutters, build a 5-foot sidewalk on the north side and 10-foot multi-use path on the south side of the street, and add decorative lighting — but was denied because the project was too large.

On advice from INDOT to split the project, Kendallville first submitted Phase 1 from Main Street to Weston Avenue and was granted $3.53 million in February 2018.

Two years later, Kendallville is now receiving $3.61 million for Phase 2, which will extend the project from Weston Avenue to S.R. 3 and slightly beyond to a subdivision just west of the highway at Beacon Road.

The work on Phase 2 will continue the work that will be done in Phase 1, city engineer Scott Derby said.

“Drake Road Section 2 consists of total reconstruction from Weston Avenue to S.R. 3 and resurfacing from S.R. 3 to Beacon Road. The entire length will have curb and gutter with 10-foot multi-use path along with ornamental street lighting. Weston to S.R. 3 will have a 5-foot sidewalk opposite the pathway as well,” Derby said.

The Phase 1 funding was granted for Fiscal Year 2023, which means construction could start in July 2022 at the earliest.

Phase 2’s funding is for Fiscal Year 2025, so construction won’t begin until July 2024 at the earliest.

In the meantime, Kendallville will start another round of extensive pre-construction work for the second project area. The city has to conduct environmental studies, surveys and a length design in order to meet requirements of the federal aid grant.

The city has made significant advances on the pre-work for the first phase and now will have to begin similar steps for the second area.

The grant is an 80/20 matching grant, so Kendallville will be required to put up a fifth of the cost from local dollars as the project advances.

Since Drake Road is not part of either of the city’s tax-increment financing districts, the funding will come from other city budgets.

Revamping Drake Road was a priority for the city mainly because of the new East Noble Middle School that’s located there. When the school opened in 2018, Kendallville built a walking path on the south side of the road in order to create a safe route for students walking or biking to school.

The redevelopment project will upgrade pedestrian options on both the north and south sides of the road to make it even safer to walk or ride in the future.