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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dunbar Bridge still major concern for residents

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dunbar Bridge was closed for repairs during most of the afternoon on Tuesday. The covered bridge, located northwest of Greencastle in Greencastle Township, received several new boards, replacing those that had been damage when a wayward semi-truck hit the bridge this past summer.
Several residents again voiced their concerns about the Dunbar Bridge at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday morning.

Greencastle resident Marilyn Reasor was the first of several to express their opinions. Reasor started by explaining her stance on the issue, noting that she owns part of the land on which the bridge stands.

If and when the bridge does close, Reasor as well as the neighborhood in which it is located will be forced to find a different route into town, she said.

"The bridge belongs to the people," said Reasor. "It's historic, and so is Rockville Road."

The bridge, which was built in 1880, has been in need of repairs for quite some time now. Not only does it leak during heavy rains it is also unable to handle the weight of a school bus or a fire truck, which is a major concern for not only the neighborhood but for fire and safety as well.

"It's a matter of public safety and response time," explained Greencastle Fire Chief Bill Newgent. "This area is not immune to emergencies."

The alternate route, County Road 300 West (Walker Lane) from West Walnut Street Road, would force people to drive an extra 12 miles out of their way. Also, it would make for longer response times for emergency services.

Board members cleared up many of the misconceptions that had arisen such as the bridge closing at any time.

"The bridge will not be destroyed," Board of Commissioners President Gene Beck said. "We have never said the bridge will be closed."

Although, there is no plan to fully shut down the bridge, it will eventually turn into a pedestrian bridge. The bridge will be preserved and cared for just like all covered bridges in Putnam County.

"The people that are in favor of the bridge are a minority," said Nancy Fogle. "The way the economy is, if we spend that amount of money, it leaves a bad taste in peoples' mouths."

After 45 minutes, Beck was forced to end the discussion since the board had already voted on the matter.

The board also heard from Tim Oaks, an attorney representing Martin Marietta. Oaks presented the final agreement to the board, which was approved, for the surfacing of the road known as Frontage Road No. 2.

Jim Tennacour of H.P. Legacy also proposed to do a walk through of all county-owned buildings to test the energy levels. The free walk through will allow the county to see the ways they are losing money due to energy costs and present ways to fix them.

Finally, County Clerk Marty Watts presented plans for the redistricting in Putnam County. The commissioners approved the redistricting plans, which will go into effect after the 2012 election.

Putnam County is one of 12 counties in Indiana making plans to redistrict.

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The commissioners are working with little county funds as the property taxes keep going down. Roads are in shambles and their job is a difficult one that I would not ever take. That said...

Take everything the commissioners say with a grain of salt. They try and get plans quietly underway as there is a point when a project cannot be stopped. When my group fought and won to save Bridge #45 they flat out lied to us, saying they were not trying to replace the 1918 iron bridge. They had already applied for federal grants 3 times for replacement and had the bridge on a sale site. They proceeded to circumvent the 106 process and spend $120,000.00 of Put Co taxes (not grant money) for surveys and plans on replacement. They manipulated the bridges status numbers and traffic counts and the DNR called them out on it.

Once we got the Historic Landmarks & Historic Spans people involved things went much better and the bridge was eventually put on the Historic Bridge list and taken off the sale site. The county did a minimal repair on the bridge but years later have yet to do any real repair on it. Their goal is to let it get rundown, taking a bridge down and storing is considered "saving" it. Present and past PC commissioners have publicly stated they do not like covered and iron bridges and would have taken them all out if they could. You have to watch what they say and become versed in this part of county politics.

Then take a long shower.

The future success of any community is with the city & county planners and a vision. Wonder what Parke county planners envisioned? ONE million visitors to see covered bridges is my guess.

-- Posted by ladyinthewoods on Wed, Oct 5, 2011, at 7:46 AM

Taking Walker Lane from the Dunbar addition to Greencastle (the post office, for example) is NOT 12 miles out of the way. It is less then 1 extra mile to go that way.

-- Posted by Clovertucky on Wed, Oct 5, 2011, at 9:56 AM

What happened to the plan that was tossed around 3 or 4 years ago about extending Doc James road straight west from where it intersects 125W to cross the creek just south of the covered bridge? Even though it would require a lot of fill to build a roadbed above the existing grade it might be better than locating a bridge where 125W meets then parallels the river. Flood waters are highly concentrated directly on the outside of the bend in the river channel and any bridge at that location is certain to receive cruel and unusual punishment from the floodwaters. Anyone who has seen the velocity of the water flooding out of the river channel on that bend would understand.

-- Posted by local-yokel on Wed, Oct 5, 2011, at 1:55 PM

We can all move on now,this is officially old news and decision has been made...

-- Posted by kubotafan on Thu, Oct 6, 2011, at 7:20 AM

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