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Grants to fund 80 percent of Baker's Camp Bridge rehab

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Baker's Camp covered bridge was recently involved in an accident that had damaged the bridge.
BAINBRIDGE -- The chances of a rehabilitation project for Baker's Camp Covered Bridge got a big boost from a federal grant program.

In a pair of recent grant disbursements, Putnam County received $795,000 in late June and an additional $185,000 last week. The total of $980,000, leaves the county with $245,000 to pay of the $1.225 million project.

"At a time when states are facing serious budget constraints, these grants will help fill a critical need," Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said when announcing Indiana's grants. "Investments like these are immediate and long-lasting, and will help create jobs."

The county has applied for these funds from the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program before and Baker's Camp Bridge was turned down.

"What was surprising is it was turned down in 2008," county highway co-supervisor Jim Smith said.

However, the county was strongly encouraged to apply for the program again back in May -- just two days before it was due.

Baker's Camp Bridge carries CR 650 North over Big Walnut Creek in Floyd Township, southeast of Bainbridge. It was built in 1901 by Joseph J. Daniels and spans 100 feet between the stone abutments at each end.

The last major repair of the bridge was done in 1985 when the decking and floor beams were replaced.

The bridge's current problems include rotting or damaged timber and siding, damage to the tin roof and just the general wear and tear that a 110-year-old wooden bridge might experience.

Proposed improvements under the rehabilitation plan include replacing the tin roof; repairing or replacing damaged structural elements; repairing damaged siding; tuck-pointing the joints in the stone abutments; painting the siding, truss members, arches and cross bracing; and adding a fire retardant to all wooden parts of the bridge.

According to the grant application, "The proposed work will be done in a manner to keep the original character of the bridge in place as much as possible."

Additionally, the county has no desire to increase the load capacity above its current rating of 8 tons in order too keep heavy traffic from using the bridge. Vehicles over 8 tons can use U.S. 36, less than a mile to the north.

As with anything involving collaboration between county, state and federal agencies, funding for the project does not mean it will start immediately. It will be developed to be let through INDOT in September 2013. Construction will last approximately six months and is to be completed by April 2014.

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This is a perfect example of why we are in economic trouble. $1.22 million dollars to repair a structure that most likely didn't cost over $100,000.00 to build when it was brand spanking new.

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 7:52 AM

This work is way overpriced and will not be done by local contractors.At least most of the work could be easly done by locals.Oh, I forget that would save taxpayers money.

-- Posted by check the facts on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 8:45 AM

The one thing that is being overlooked here is that if Putnam County doesn't receive these funds, some other county or state will. Also, if this bridge isn't fixed and maintained, it will eventually deteriorate to the point that it will have to be replaced or bypassed by another bridge at an even greater cost. We should have pride in the fact that we have several preserved and usable covered bridges when so many counties around do not--just look at Owen, Clay and Hendricks Counties to name a few.

-- Posted by rosco&ginger on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 10:13 AM

It is a beautiful picture of the covered bridge

-- Posted by mlooper on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 12:21 PM

Hey,check the facts,it's obvious you didn't..

-- Posted by kubotafan on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 6:13 PM

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