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Monday, May 2, 2016

Jackson Township bridge no longer protected

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This one-lane concrete bridge on CR 650E in Jackson Township is slated to be replaced in 2013 or 2014. Banner Graphic/JARED JERNAGAN
GREENCASTLE -- The Putnam County Highway has one less bridge considered historic by the state, so the structure is on the docket to be replaced in coming years.

At Monday's meeting of the Putnam County Commissioners, president Gene Beck reported that Bridge 248, located on County Road 650 East, south of State Road 236, is no longer consider historic, so it is not protected.

"There's nothing in the design of that bridge that merits it being historical," said county highway supervisor Jim Smith. "We're going to put in a brand new bridge."

Since rehabbing the bridge would cost more than replacing it, the bridge is now on the list of those to be replaced in coming years. Smith said work is unlikely until 2013 or 2014.

Bridge 10 in Russell Township and Bridge 146 in Greencastle Township will be up for bid in 2011.

Rehabbing the existing Bridge 248 would not be practical anyway, as it is only one lane. It's especially problematic in an area where agriculture is so important.

"It's just a one-lane right now, and our mission is to make it a two-way," Smith said. "It doesn't meet current needs in terms of agricultural equipment. You have bigger equipment going down the road, and it becomes a liability."

The county may also have some interest in Bridge 146, the Houck Iron Bridge. The Wabash and Eerie Canal Society, based in Delphi, has expressed interest in the bridge.

In 2009, the state gave the county the choice of setting the bridge aside or taking it apart and storing it until 2025 because of its historic value. Donating it to the society would be another option.

The problem is the interested party lacks the funds to transport the bridge. The commissioners may still be interested in dismantling the bridge and paying to transport the pieces to Delphi, as storage is also a cost.

"I would weigh the cost of taking it to Delphi over storing it for 20 years. Those figures could be cheaper," commissioner Jim Baird said.

The commissioners also made a decision on the upcoming tax sale, choosing to do an Internet sale, rather than live, and setting the minimum bid on all properties at $100.

While the minimum would be an incredibly low price for some of the properties, the county's interest at this time is simply getting the properties back on the tax rolls.

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