Last week, I wrote about the problem with speeding 4-wheelers and dirt bikes on Jackson Street in Harmony. Mother Nature took care of the problem early last Wednesday morning, but gave us a new wrinkle. A large portion of the bridge collapsed. Not even a dirt bike can travel it now.
Mail, trash trucks, and delivery people have had to route around the big hole. Many drivers used Jackson Street to get to the Harmony Community House, Pell Warehouse, the cemetery, or the V.B. Firehouse. I used to be able to get to Cousin Kathy's or Brother John and Eva Kay's just by snaking around the neighborhood streets. Now I have to go out to Highway 40 if the I-70 traffic allows.
The county brought huge piles of gravel to stop vehicles from driving into the chasm that used to be the Jackson Street Bridge. Thanks to those folks. Denny and I had driven across the bridge just hours before the collapse. Scary stuff.
Many people have walked down the street to see the big hole in the road and it is a BIG hole. Looking at it from either direction, it appears to be just a pile of gravel. But, when you peer over the rocks, it is as though an earthquake hit Jackson Street.
Most sightseers are cautious but, unfortunately, a few young people think it is a playground. They don't think about the danger. They are jumping around on the gravel. The kids could slide right through the hole and beyond. Part of the pavement is intact on the west side, but there is nothing under it. It could go at anytime. The hole is large enough to probably hold the whole front end of a vehicle and there is a long drop to the little creek below it. If you or your children go near the site, please be careful.
Neighbors have been worried about the safety of the bridge for at least a couple of years. One had gone under the bridge to take pictures of the faulting structure to show to the council. Opinions differed on what needed to be done to fix it. The sides kept washing away even in good to moderate weather. Months ago the road crews had put up a rail to help divert water away from the bridge and had piled rocks to strengthen the edges. Time and weather often win the battle.
I talked to the county highway garage this week to hear what is proposed to correct the situation. Thanks to the nice lady that was so informative. The county plans to put in a wider culvert. This should make it possible for two vehicles to pass on the bridge and to strengthen the sides to prevent so much erosion. It sounds as though the bridge will be more than just restored to the previously scary condition. The temporary road-closed inconvenience will be worth the 2-4 week wait for major repairs and improvements.
Previous to the collapse, Jackson Street neighbors had a System. We all knew that two vehicles could not pass on the bridge. For several yards east and west of the bridge, there were no good places to pull off the road. Once you started down the hill, you needed to cross the bridge and go several yards beyond before meeting another car. Patty Escott explained the procedure to me when I moved to the neighborhood.
When one of the neighbors saw another driver approaching, the system usually kicked into gear. Westbound drivers would pull over near Judy Schopmeyer's drive and let the eastbound traffic cross the bridge. This worked as long as no system-deprived newcomers came barreling down the hill. When the trees leafed out this spring, it became more difficult to see the eastbound traffic until already passing Judy's drive. In bad weather, most people just avoided the bridge and took Harmony Road. We will all look forward to seeing the county plans and improvements in action.
Denny and I weren't sure that we were going to get to celebrate our anniversary this past weekend. We had planned to leave early Saturday morning and have breakfast at the Amish restaurant in Odon. It was raining so hard that we just sat around the house, with the suitcase in the Envoy, waiting for the weather to pass. When it seemed to clear, we jumped in the vehicle and headed south only to discover we had to turn around before getting to Linton. An officer at Clay City told us all the roads we could not take and said 157 was open but had water standing on it in places. We weren't sure what to do at that point. Since the storm had passed, we thought, we headed on south.
Although we made it to our destination, I would not want to do it again. We just had no idea how bad it was and we were caught between trying to get back home and going on to the other side of the county (and hopefully out of the bad weather). Once we cleared Worthington, everything was OK but we saw a lot of water doing a lot of damage in those few miles. Later my aunt Christine called to say that several more inches of rain fell after we left.
Our friends from Jasper and Lake Helmerich said they were in need of rain at their homes. Strange to hear something like that when you have seen so much water. It was like inviting evil. They met us at Der Deusch Gasthof Restaurant for supper Saturday evening. We had such a good visit sitting on the front porch of the hotel. We took them homemade bread from the Springhill Bakery and they brought Denny his favorite dreamboat pastries from the German bakery at Jasper. Our Lake Helmerich friends had photographed our old house from their pontoon boat in the middle of the lake. They had framed it for us, too. Good friends are priceless.
Denny and I had planned to visit the antique shops, my favorite greenhouse, and his favorite Black Buggy Restaurant on Monday. The weatherman changed our minds. We left without breakfast. This time we listened to reports and called the State Police before heading home. We ended up going through Bloomington and driving almost to Indianapolis to get from Montgomery to Brazil. We were so hungry that we went to Greencastle to have breakfast at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. There were no bad roads and no delays until we got to Great Dane. The I-70 traffic made the short distance from The Dog to Harmony Road almost a half hour to travel. It was good to be home. Our nice relaxing anniversary retreat was not so relaxing but God was with us. We were safe and back home.
Happy Birthday to Christine Clark (12th), Jay Bridgewater and Carole Weaver (17th), Andra Wolfe (18th), Kraig Dierdorf (22nd), Dan Pell (23rd). A very special Happy 103rd Birthday to Mazo Modesitt (17th). Happy Anniversaries to Rev. Bob and Carolyn Kumpf (16th), Mr. and Mrs. Brad Pell (19th), Mr. and Mrs. Jim Pell (30th). Call me with additional birthdays and anniversaries 448-8734.
June 14 -- Christian Rock Concert at the Cow Palace in Forest Park
Harmony United Methodist Calendar:
June 15 -- Worship Service 9 a.m., Sunday School 10:45 a.m.
June 16 -- Softball game 8 p.m. (vs. 1st United of Clay City)
June 18 -- Clay County Quilters 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
June 23 -- United Methodist Women 7 p.m.
June 26 -- Worship Committee 6:30 p.m., Admin. Board 7 p.m.