It took a lot of time and effort, but work on all three of the major bridges damaged during the June 6, 2008, floods have been completed.
On Thursday, the Clay County Commissioners and Clay County Highway Superintendent Pete Foster officially dedicated the reopening of a bridge, located on County Road 200 South, between CR 425 and 525 W.
"The bridge was competed in the first part of December," Foster said. "It took about six weeks to complete the project and has become a really great bridge."
The bridge was by far the most damaged of the three and Foster told The Brazil Times the two large galvanized pipes -- which were 80-feet long and 6-feet in diameter -- that previously made up the bridge had completely blown out during the flood.
BLS Contractors, Bowling Green, did the work on the bridge at a cost of $180,665, and Foster added the new set up allows the water from Clear Branch Creek to flow more freely.
"By not having the pipes in there, the water can pass under the bridge easier," he said. "Also, the flat cars are made with small holes in them so the water can drain off the road quicker without having large puddles."
Foster said minor work still needs to be done to even out the approaches to the bridge, but admits using the flat cars has even made the bridge even tougher.
"There really is no weight limit on the bridge," Foster told The Brazil Times. "We had an excavator that weighed 30-35 tons on it bouncing up and down as it cleared some of the debris off the banks and it held up fine."
After the debris was cleared from the area, the bank was lined with riprap, which is rock and other materials to help armor the creek against water and ice erosion.
Although there is no official weight limit, Foster said he is considering having a 25-ton weight limit placed on the bridge to help protect other smaller bridges and culverts in the area from being damaged by traffic from heavy trucks and equipment.
In October, Foster and the commissioners officially reopened the other two bridges -- one located at CR 600 N, one-quarter mile west of CR 300 W, and the other on CR 100 S, one-quarter mile west of CR 600 W, which were considerably smaller projects.
Brown's Land Improvement, Staunton, completed the work on CR 600 N on Oct. 13, at a cost of $54,900, and the bridge on CR 100 S was competed by L & B Construction, Brazil, for $47,550, and was reopened Oct. 6.
The commissioners were pleased to have the bridges completed, but agreed they wished they could have completed the work quicker.
"I just want to apologize for the inconvenience it may have caused anyone by having them closed so long," Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said. "We would have liked to have them done quicker, but we ended up having the most bang for the buck."
Commissioner Paul Sinders elaborated on Brown's comments by explaining they waited on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide them with information about possible reimbursements.
"It was tough waiting for FEMA to contact us with answers to our questions," Sinders said. "However, our patience allowed for a great savings to the county as we were approved to have 75 percent of the total project costs reimbursed."
The total cost of the three projects came to $283,115, and after reimbursements, the county was responsible for paying approximately 70,778.75.
"We were able to improve on how the bridges were constructed to hopefully prevent this from happening again," Brown said. "In the end, it ended up being a very economical fix to the situation.