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Monday, May 2, 2016

County balks at replacing Dunbar Covered Bridge

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Even with the majority of a $5-plus million project being paid by state and federal sources, the Putnam County Commissioners are unsure of a plan to replace Dunbar Bridge with a modern bridge a quarter mile upstream.

County highway co-supervisor Jim Smith presented a contract between Putnam County and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) at Tuesday's commissioners meeting. Under the matching grant program, the county would have to pay $1.2 million of the price tag for the new bridge.

However, commissioners Nancy Fogle and Gene Beck expressed misgivings about spending the county's highway money on the bridge, saying quite a bit of roadwork could be done with $1.2 million.

If nothing is done, the current bridge would be maintained until it is no longer viable. At that point, the road would simply terminate on either side of Big Walnut Creek.

This would, however, create a safety and accessibility problem for residents living on the north side of the creek, isolating them from Greencastle, except by a circuitous route.

Smith also reminded the commissioners that the matching grant is a one-time deal. If the county turns the money down, it will not be available again.

The commissioners are seeking public input on the matter, particularly from area residents at or before their next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19 at the Courthouse Annex.

If the county moves forward with the replacement plan, the road would go straight across Big Walnut at the upstream location, before turning west on the north bank of the creek. It would rejoin the current road just north of the current bridge.

The covered bridge would remain in place as a historic monument, but no longer open to traffic.

With Dunbar Bridge still open for now, the matter of repairing damage from an August accident was also addressed. The bid submitted by Trisler Construction was chosen to make the repairs.

Smith also announced that Clark Dietz will do the preliminary engineering work on the rehabilitation of Baker's Camp Covered Bridge.

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It's a no brainer. Replace it!

-- Posted by Georgianow on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 7:06 AM

Federal Aid money applied to this project can be applied to other Federal Aid projects in the same classification or released back to INDOT and applied for at a later time with no guarantees that it will be funded at that time. Hence the comment of being a one time deal.....the project would have to start completely over if abandoned now or in the near future,including having to select new engineers qand competing with other projects competing for Federal tax dollars.

-- Posted by kubotafan on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 8:01 AM

Yes replace it. But the covered bridge should be repaired by the trucking co. that tore it up in Aug. What has happened with that?

-- Posted by chicken on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 8:03 AM
Response by Banner Graphic:
Please read the entire story. That issue was also addressed.

Now that the county has no money or responsibility to maintain bridges or roads, maybe the residents of this road can use the Barrett Assessment Law and buy their own bridge and road repairs. Wait a minute, what are we paying county taxes for? Maybe the taxes are just used to pay the politicians wages and provide them with health insurance. Dunbar Hill residents should meet with the Edgelea residents for clarification on this issue!

-- Posted by gunner on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 8:26 AM

I really dont think that the truck caused any structural damage. If memory serves it was strictly cosmetic damages, because if it were more then the bridge would have been closed.

-- Posted by Oh My Goodness on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 9:35 AM

Don't replace it until it is NEEDED....Love the look the of the field and bridge.

-- Posted by mcmj on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 10:50 AM

maybe paying the highway workers overtime when pushing snow instead of comp hours, the sheriffs dept get overtime

-- Posted by sadface on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 12:13 PM

Dunbar Bridge as we know it will stay in place and will become a pedestrian bridge....

-- Posted by kubotafan on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 3:13 PM

The bridge needs replaced. It is a cconcern for traffic safety and the new bridge may address flood issues for residence in the area.

-- Posted by hopperbc on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 6:22 AM

Make sure you tell friends and neighbors to attend the public meeting to voice their opinion.

I agree that the bridge needs to be replaced. Commissioners -- don't pass up on this opportunity to have help in replacing it just because you think that money could be used on other projects (obviously it isn't being used given comments on other road-related stories).

If you leave the bridge as is until it's too the point where it HAS to be replaced for safety issues, it will be too late. I don't live out there, but have friends and co-workers that depend on being able to use the bridge to get into town. How scary would it be to think that emergency services couldn't make it to a home past Dunbar in a timely manner when needed because they had to use the "circuitous" route due to Dunbar being closed?!

-- Posted by workingmomma on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 9:35 PM

I'm a resident north of the bridge. The bridge is a major safety hazard. I have almost been hit more than once trying to enter the bridge (northbound) because you cannot see into it. It would be nice to see it preserved, but we need a more modern two lane bridge to get across the creek and a two lane bridge to get across the small creek there. Closure, if not replaced, would almost not be an option. It is an extrememly long way for emergency vehicles to traverse. They would have to go all the way up West Walnut Street, to 300 West, then on Dunbar. I drive that way to work and I can't imagine that would be a viable option. As for the damage to the bridge, from what I can see driving through the bridge on my way home, it seems purely cosmetic. Its missing some siding on the top near the name sign.

-- Posted by dunbararearesident on Fri, Sep 9, 2011, at 7:57 PM

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