Letter: Ford bridge

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Editor, 

I want to thank you for reporting on and keeping us informed about the Ford bridge.  I was hoping to assist in clarification of some information in your past 2 articles. First, I want to be clear that in no way is our group opposed to the proposed bridge nor do we feel the proposed bridge would harm the natural resources. Our intent during the DNR hearing was to address inconsistencies found in the documentation provided by the County engineers to DNR so that the project could and should be reviewed thoroughly before it moves forward.  Since the new proposal will be funded using local funds instead of federal funds, the layer of INDOT approval, oversight and guidelines is not available as it would have been for a federally funded project.  The DNR hearing was the time to address these issues.

Regarding another earlier article in the Current, it states that the caption on the sign is “an inaccurate statement” because INDOT “has stated it is open to evaluating the situation in the future”.  You are correct but only to a point.  On the second page of the attached INDOT letter to the County, you will note that if the County progresses with the next new project (which they are now), they can reapply for federal funds at the next call for projects.  This would be new money however not the original $2.58MM implied. If the County wishes to reapply for federal funds, they could certainly do so but it would be “new” money….the $2.58MM was lost.  When the current Town Council voted to not endorse the truss bridge, some (not all) County Council members followed suit and voted to defund.  As a result of the defunding, there was no project left, no alternatives in the works and the funds were pulled.  If federal funds are actually currently available, that would be wonderful for County taxpayers and the public should know this since the proposed bridge will use only local funds.

There have been many discussions over the years regarding this bridge and misinformation disbursed.  Hopefully, by obtaining complete information with supporting facts, these past controversies can be put aside instead of continuing to be fueled.  For instance, where Gene Thompson states “don’t they know that there is already flooding there” appears to be petty and antagonistic.  Since we live there, we do know there is flooding.  If Mr. Thompson would have presented his comments during the actual hearing, we and/or possibly the Commissioners could have told him that, based on the inconsistencies V3 Engineering and DNR found in the hydraulics modeling, these corrections were identified to hopefully not further impact flooding of that area since quantity and placement of flooding is actually calculated into the hydraulics modeling.

This has certainly been a longstanding, complicated issue to follow in the press and we commend your effort to piece through it all!  We all want a safe bridge, one which does not negatively impact the Traders Point Rural Historic District, and one which is completed in the near future.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or comments and thank you again for your time.

Cindy Lamberjack

[gview file=”https://youarecurrent.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/INDOT-Defund-Letter.pdf”]

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