Bartholomew County hopes to speed bridge replacement project

A damaged Bartholomew County bridge could get replaced ahead of schedule if the state approvals can be moved up, according to Danny Hollander, the county highway engineer. Hollander updated the Bartholomew County Commissioners on replacement plans for County Bridge 188 which is on County Road 400W, just south of State Road 58.

The bridge was closed for about three weeks earlier this year after the aging structure was found to be unsafe during an inspection. Since then, Milestone Contractors was able to make some repairs for the county, which allowed the bridge to reopen, Hollander said. County Commissioners President Larry Kleinhenz said that the county is comfortable with the bridge repairs that were made, and that the bridge can handle the heavy loads of farm equipment and semis until the bridge is replaced.

The county commissioners agreed to ask the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to expedite its permitting process so that the bridge can be replaced quickly. Hollander said that the permits can easily take 6 to 9 months to be approved. Without the expedited review, the county would likely miss next year’s construction season, meaning the bridge wouldn’t be replaced for two more years.

The hope is that the bridge could still be replaced next year.