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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Bridge donated to county

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

ASHBORO -- Last year, an information trip Clay County Commissioner Charlie Brown undertook led to the county receiving a 40-by-20 bridge.

"We were there talking about bridge engineering," Brown said. "We were discussing railroad flat cars. It was an information trip."

This year, he didn't have to make the trip.

On Tuesday, Brown said the county was to receive another bridge courtesy the Purdue University Bowen Laboratory. The bridge is 40-by-10 in size.

Brown said officials at the university recently contacted him saying they had another bridge completed and wanted to know if the county was interested.

"They build bridges up there and run tests (on them)," Brown said.

Recently, per federal government requirements, the county had bridge inspections conducted. The federal government requires all counties to have inspections done every two years.

During the inspections, it was concluded the county would have to replace at least 42 bridges within the next 10-15 years, although none are in critical condition. In addition, three will need to be rehabilitated and 155 will need repairs.

Clay County Highway Garage Assistant Superintendent Brad Stultz said none would need to be eliminated at this time.

With the expense of replacing one bridge, having two come from Purdue has been a blessing, Brown said.

"It's quite an endowment," he said. "It could cost $150,000 for the bridges. We've got a real good relationship with (officials with the Bowen Center)."

Brown added approximately 10-15 percent from every county tax dollar goes to an accumulative bridge fund.

However, he estimated the total cost of transporting the bridge from Lafayette to Brazil was $1,500, which included transportation and a crane to move the bridge.

Both bridges are currently housed at the Clay County Highway Garage.

Stultz said while the highway garage crew has looked at several locations where the bridges could be placed, other work has been the priority. Stultz said flooding in April 2011 caused several problems throughout the county. Consequently, the highway garage has been dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) on several projects.

Stultz said there are at least four more projects to complete, and he hopes to have them finished by June.

"We have looked at locations for the bridges," Brown added. "We're planning on an intense bridge program this summer. We have a general idea, but it's an ongoing process."

Both Brown and Stultz said the two donated bridges will replace two of the 42 inspected bridges that need replaced. Both are steal beam bridges with concrete tops.

Stultz added the highway garage crew has looked for spots for the two bridges and have an idea of where they may go.

"The engineers (looking at the bridges) say the 42 are the top priority," Stultz said. "But you have to find the bridge to fill the hole."



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