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INDOT: Still no timetable on bridge

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Alternate routes will be the name of the game when it comes to residents traveling east on State Road 46 for Thanksgiving.

On Thursday, Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Media Relations Director for the Crawfordsville District Debbie Calder told The Brazil Times the bridge on SR 46 going over the Eel River just before Bowling Green would not be fixed in time for the holiday.

"It will not be open for Thanksgiving travel," Calder said.

She said as of Thursday, INDOT officials were still waiting on information from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) before proceeding with the project.

"We're waiting on plans to come back from SHPO," she said. "Once we hear word from them, then (construction) will go."

Calder said INDOT officials expected to hear back from SHPO by Tuesday. From there, INDOT engineers can then look at the plans and proceed with the project. She added the project would have to undergo bidding as well.

"The construction department will set the time," she said. "Then we will proceed from there."

The bridge was closed Wednesday, Nov. 2, after an INDOT Crawfordsville District Bridge Inspector found a crack in one of the gusset plates.

Gusset plates are the thick sheets of steel used to connect beams and girders to columns.

They can also be used to connect truss members as well as being fastened to a permanent member either by bolts, rivets, welding or by a combination of all three. They serve as a method of joining steel members together to strengthen the joint of the bridge.

INDOT officials said the crack was discovered during a bi-annual inspection.

The bridge, according to Calder, was built in 1933 and underwent rehabilitation in 1977. She said it was scheduled for another rehabilitation project in 2015.

Until INDOT officials can determine when the project can commence, they suggested using a detour south on State Road 59 into Clay City and then traveling east on State Road 246 through Patricksburg before coming back to SR 46.

"Once we get word back on construction, then we will give people an idea as to how long (the bridge) will be closed," Calder said.

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With winter coming on, Charley Brown and the guys are going to have their hands (and ears)full.

Local bypass to south is a rough road to say the least. Being there are rivers road they wind and curve go north then east then northwest. Snowplow drivers nightmare. Also with no power lines to guide them. State Road 46 don't be plowed either I bet.

-- Posted by smallguysmalltown on Fri, Nov 18, 2011, at 8:55 AM

We need to invest in our infrastructure now!

-- Posted by Combat VET on Fri, Nov 18, 2011, at 9:25 AM

Thanks to the poor planning of detour routes that never see a plow or salt truck, I can almost guarantee there will be a fatality on these roads soon. Sad for the people who live along these roads as well as they have seen damage to their property. These detour routes have no berms and no guardrails even by the river that consistently overflows. Imagine what that will be like once it turns into a solid sheet of ice.

The one lane bridge on Poland/Bowling Green road has already been an albatross. When we are outside, we are inundated by drivers with queries about better roads to travel and unfortunately, there aren't any. These roads were build to be farm vehicle access roads, not major thoroughfares. INDOT had better be prepared for a HUGE lawsuit once the first person dies and with the current situation, the averages are scarily high that will occur.

I pray for all of the drivers forced to take these detour roads and for all the residents now dealing with damaged property and fearful conditions.

Since our tax dollars don't seem to go towards a quick, efficient fix to this issue, then might I suggest the State of Indiana reconsider charging us, the residents who are now forced to travel 30+ miles out of the way on dangerous roads with gas at nearly 3.50 a gallon, a tax break as well?

-- Posted by karenmeister on Fri, Nov 18, 2011, at 10:18 AM

There are many other options for what INDOT could have done. First and foremost, fix the blasted bridge! Second, leave it open but with a weight limit placed on it. Third, put traffic lights at either end of the bridge and make it one lane only controlled by the lights. Fourth, patch the crack until warmer weather arrives (2 reasons for this one) 1. St. Rd 46 is the best, straightest and safest route available compared to the other choices and 2. as all drivers know what happens to cracks in the road in winter time, they get worse thanks to the ice. So, thank you INDOT for dragging your feet.

The 'alternate routes' that are available to us are dangerous in the best weather conditions but when the snow and ice start collecting they will be deadly. The routes are ALL narrow and twisting, full of blind curves and no berms. Any vehicles wider than the standard car/truck/SUV take up more than their lane. I myself have come around curves and almost been hit by a semi truck coming the other way. Our children's school busses are now forced to use these narrow 'detour' routes, how long before a bus and a semi collide head on? There has already been 1 accident that I am personally aware of due to the increased traffic on these roads that weren't designed to handle it; luckily no one was severely injured, yet. One question, have these people at INDOT ever driven the roads they recommend as detours? Doesn't seem like it to me.

-- Posted by Mr. History on Fri, Nov 18, 2011, at 12:00 PM

What does the State Historic Preservation Office have to do with a functioning state highway structure?

If this bridge is governed by this agency, then it really is past time to either replace it or leave it to be maintained by said agency and build a new, modern bridge adjacent to it.

-- Posted by Shadrach on Fri, Nov 18, 2011, at 4:20 PM

I agree with Karen on this one. The bridge needs to be repaired, at the very least, in a more timely manner. I also believe that there needs to be a monitored weight limit put on that bridge. I have been traveling that road for years and have seen so many stupid people PASS another car or truck ON that bridge! I really wish the people with a death wish would just run into a tree or something, leave the other civilians alone and quit trying to kill others by their stupid driving. As for the county roads, everyone has it right. They are in deplorable conditions, brought on by the farmers who insist on driving their overweight, i.e., semis loaded with their harvest, over these roads. What are the commissioners going to do since basically these roads are tore up faster than they can be repaired! As for this winter, I just hope everyone has their prayers said up and are ready to meet their maker because if the weather people are correct, this is going to be a snowy winter, which will mean delays in the repair project on the bridge and the county roads are going to be left unattended as usual. I, like everyone else, do not like people driving in my yard to avoid the large farm equipment; however, before someone lost their life by being run over or hit by that equipment or another vehicle at all, I would hope that they would run into my yard. I have noticed on River Rd. a certain individual has put cut tree logs along his properties edge and the narrow road. What's up with that. Is his precious grass most valuable than a life? And my other concern is that on some county roads, the trees and branches are so close to the edge of the road that it is impossible to get over any further. Isn't the county highway crew supposed to be out cutting limbs and trees that are within their easement area? If they are, they are surely doing a very poor job. Just drive down any of the county roads south of St. Rd. 46 and one side or the other you will notice trees growing very close to the edge of the road or limbs hanging over. This is scary to drive in highwinds or a storm. Years ago in Morgan County a person was killed when driving along Blue Bluff Rd. during a thunderstorm and a tree limb was blown down on top of her car while she was driving this road to go home. I seriously think that the commissioners need to drive these county roads and determine those areas that need to be addressed. It just might save a life and that life may be someone you know or your own.

-- Posted by Clay County Resident on Mon, Nov 21, 2011, at 10:07 AM

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