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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Work begins on rebuilding of area bridge

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A chance to make new memories is in the works at Bridgeton.

When the Bridgeton Covered Bridge was lost in a tragedy of flames on April 28, 2005, the people of Bridgeton came together. They wanted to see their bridge rebuilt, but what they didn't know was that the world wanted to see the same thing too.

Bridgeton Covered Bridge Association treasurer, Bart Barnes said he had been involved in public service before, but he had never seen such an outpouring of volunteer efforts until the fire destroyed their bridge.

"It started a spirit and life of its own and moved forward," Barnes said.

Barnes said the day after the fire, people said they wanted to rebuild the bridge, but no one really knew how or what they were even getting into.

The Bridgeton Covered Bridge Association set up a foundation to raise money and so did other groups across the Wabash Valley. In fact, by the time the Covered Bridge Festival rolled around last year, they had already received $100,000 toward the bridge fund.

Not only was money being raised but individuals and the Department of Natural Resources were donating lumber for the project.

Mike Roe, who owns the mill in Bridgeton, said there was more than an abundance of lumber donated.

"We had enough trees donated that we could have built two bridges," Roe said.

More donations kept rolling in from there. The bridge design was donated to them.

There was even more materials donated, not to mention people's own time and labor.

"It has just been an incredible process all the way through," Barnes said. "The dream is becoming reality."

For some this dream is to teach their grandchildren to walk on the bridge as they had taught their own children.

For others the dream is to have a similar tie to the area as they once did with the bridge on which they created many memories from camping to swimming and even to weddings.

The chance to create these new memories is under construction now.

Construction on the new Bridgeton Covered Bridge began on Aug.1 and it is going very well.

"The bridge is going together a lot faster than anybody thought," Roe said. "The goal is to have it done by the Bridge Festival."

Later this month or early September the two pieces of the bridge will be put together over the water.

Then work on the floor, roof and siding can begin, Barnes said.

The Bridgeton Covered Bridge Association has received about $233,000 so far, but they still need help.

Right now construction workers are putting wooden pegs into the bridge.

These pegs, which are selling fast, are numbered and can be purchased at the mill for $50.

Each peg can have the buyer's family name or in memory of a loved one included on its side.

All the proceeds from the sale of these wooden pegs goes toward the new covered bridge.

Barnes said with the help of so many invaluable volunteers and great progress so far, he is confident the bridge will be ready for the Covered Bridge Festival on Oct. 13-22.

"I'm sure people will be able to walk across it when they come to visit," Barnes said.

He said there is more work that needs to be done once the bridge is in place, such as restoring the landscape, that will still fall into next year, but the people of Bridgeton are just thankful for everything people have done to help rebuild the bridge.

"This bridge means everything to us," Barnes said.

Bridgeton is in southern Parke County, nine miles south of Rockville, six miles east of Rosedale or north of Brazil on SR 59 for seven miles to the green highway sign that says Bridgeton, five miles.

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