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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Houck Iron Bridge now on dry land

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A large Maxim crane, right, lifts the Houck Iron Bridge from its 106-year-old perch, moving the bridge to the north side of Big Walnut Creek. The structure will next be disassembled and shipped to the Wabash and Erie Canal Society in Delphi.
By their very nature, bridges do not move easily. Public confidence in civil engineers tends to plunge when bridges start moving.

This made Friday morning's undertaking by Duncan Robertson contractors all the more daunting -- remove a 36-ton, 160-foot iron bridge from its abutments and place it on solid ground ... and keep it in one piece.

Thanks to some heavy lifting by a giant crane and some very slow movement, Bridge 146, the Houck Iron Bridge, now rests on the north bank of Big Walnut Creek, the stream it spanned for 106 years.

The project has been in the works for some time. The bridge has been closed for safety reasons since May 2007, but it is considered historic, so it cannot simply be destroyed.

The first step of Houck's journey took place on Friday with its move.

Duncan Robertson's plans had originally called for two smaller cranes to lift the bridge from each end and move it to the north shore. Big Walnut's current water level led to this plan being scrapped.

Instead, the contractors called in a bigger gun, a large Maxim crane, to connect to both ends of the bridge and lift it alone.

In a deliberate process, workers connected the crane, freed the bridge from the abutments and let the crane do the rest. The apparatus lifted the bridge, pivoted slowly to the northwest, eventually setting the bridge down on solid ground.

The next step for the contractors is to disassemble the bridge. In doing so, they must inventory each piece of the structure. It will then be transported, in pieces, to Delphi. Putnam County has donated the bridge to the Wabash and Erie Canal Society.

With the new bridge out of the way by spring, Duncan Robertson will set to work on construction of a new bridge for County Road 25 East. The new crossing will be to the west of the old bridge and will make the road's curves approaching the creek less severe.

The new bridge should be completed by fall 2012.

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I have seen this process in action and it is fascinating. These bridges are so beautiful it is a shame that it is going to another county but at least it's not being destroyed.

-- Posted by ladyinthewoods on Sat, Dec 17, 2011, at 6:36 AM

Bridge 45 could be living a better life,too....

-- Posted by kubotafan on Sat, Dec 17, 2011, at 9:50 AM

Yes, right where it's at...all refurbished as it should be/will be. Everybody loves it there. McCloud Park, the neighbors, all the people that stop to take photos of the beauty it and the area has. It would all be ruined by a concrete span and the raping of the nature surrounding it.

-- Posted by ladyinthewoods on Sat, Dec 17, 2011, at 10:50 AM

Sorry,guys but I have said it before and I will say it again, that was just an old rusted out iron bridge and I don't like any of my tax dollars going to save it. If you want to save it then raise the money independantly and restore it. With the financial trouble our gov't is in we need to watch what we waste our tax dollars on. I grew up playing on that bridge and I could care less about it. I say melt it down and use the steel to build the new one.

-- Posted by T.C. FATHER OF 2 on Sat, Dec 17, 2011, at 11:04 PM

T.C. you are 100% correct. Funny thing is there are so many people who want to do this or that, save this or that, or build this or that but they always want someone else to pay for it. The best use for this pile of steel is to send it to Nucor for recylcing.

-- Posted by Trying hard on Sun, Dec 18, 2011, at 10:28 AM

Funny thing is that there are people that volunteer to do just that thing. In Delphi where the Houck Road Bridge will land late this winter a very industrious group of volunteers called the Monday-Wednesday-Friday crew is eager to work on restoration and placement of this iron span. We retirees work three mornings a week and love what we do with many projects. This group has existed for over 14 years and has tackled the restoration of two historic bridges to date. If you don't believe these are special bits of our heritage then come to Delphi and discover where early Indiana history comes alive. Look us up on the web www.wabashanderiecanal.org

-- Posted by Canal Park in Delphi on Sun, Dec 18, 2011, at 1:51 PM

Isn't this bridge also known as "CROWS BRIDGE"?

-- Posted by fscroggin on Sun, Dec 18, 2011, at 4:17 PM

No, fscroggin, this bridge was just downstream from Crow's bridge.

-- Posted by firebreathinglocomotive on Sun, Dec 18, 2011, at 5:35 PM

It's about time!

-- Posted by 1stamendrights. on Sun, Dec 18, 2011, at 11:04 PM

Canal park in delphi, it is nice that you volunteer to do that in delphi but there is still a big cost at taxpayers expense in taking it down and shipping it up there. I am sure that you are very passionate about what you are doing but that cost need to come from someone besides taxpayers.

-- Posted by T.C. FATHER OF 2 on Mon, Dec 19, 2011, at 9:36 AM

Replacement of a bridge comes down to overwhelming need. To replace a iron bridge like #45 would cost at least 1.5 mil. To refurbish would cost less than $200k. The last full refurbish was in the 70's or early 80's (a deck replacement was done in 2007)yet many of the concrete spans installed in the 70's have already been replaced at least once. Many IB are not functional due to single lane and low clearance traffic and safety concerns. Bridge #45 sits on a 6ml road w/less than 30 homes, no businesses and a traffic count of less than 100. Not to mention that it fits the area so well. Is this where you want your tax dollars spent on replacement? Ooops, too late. Put Co. already spent over $100K of taxes subverting the 106 process in a failed attempt to make an alternate route for semis instead of SR 75.

-- Posted by ladyinthewoods on Mon, Dec 19, 2011, at 10:06 AM

Lady in the woods that bridge had poor placement with a 90 degree turn at the end and was very dangerous. I saw many cars slide off and over that drop off just a matter of time before someone got hurt bad or even killed.

-- Posted by T.C. FATHER OF 2 on Mon, Dec 19, 2011, at 11:16 AM

Funny how this nation restores and treasurers its old relics while the Constitution is ripped and shredded to pieces.

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Mon, Dec 19, 2011, at 12:10 PM

Sorry, I was talking about #45 on the hend/put co line rd (900 east) outside of North Salem. I am not familiar with Houck bridge but it seemed the replacement was needed for it.

-- Posted by ladyinthewoods on Mon, Dec 19, 2011, at 7:10 PM

I agree, this should've been done with other resourses besides tax dollars. There is going to come a time, (and it's probally not far off) when we won't be able to afford to do all these things with our tax money.

-- Posted by wrinklenose on Wed, Dec 21, 2011, at 3:20 PM

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