By Desiree Williams
Boone County officials are working to salvage what they can of a historic bridge that collapsed Dec. 2 after the driver of a John Deere tractor attempted to pull across equipment that was too wide.
Craig Parks, Boone County Highway engineer, said the tractor and equipment were removed from the bridge structure by Dec. 15. The Boone County Highway Dept. is working with Beaty Construction, Camden Construction and an engineering firm with expertise in historic structures to disassemble the rest of the bridge. Parks said the next step is to create an inventory of the pieces to determine what can be saved from the more than 100-year-old structure.
“It is considered a historic select structure through a programmatic agreement we have with INDOT and (the) Federal Highway Administration, which means we have to be extremely careful how we remove the pieces so we can save as much of the original structure as possible in hopes to reconstruct it back in such a way that preserves its historic nature, utilizing as many undamaged pieces as possible,” Parks said.
The select pieces will be moved off-site for safekeeping until a redesign plan is developed.
Parks said the estimated cost of extraction is $23,950 and the estimated cost of removal of the remaining structure is more than $101,000. Hiring the engineering firm to supervise the project daily is expected to cost $7,600. The department anticipates the insurance company that insures the tractor will fund the project.
When a redesign is complete, the reconstruction portion of the project will be out for bid. Parks said there is no timeline at this point.