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."
"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.
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.
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.