Bridge in limbo in the morning, knows answers by afternoon

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Monday morning Tippecanoe County Highway Department executive director Opal Kuhl said she had heard very little from INDOT after turning in a report of repairs needed for the bridge over North River Road more than a month ago.

However, a few hours later that changed.

Last year, INDOT approached Tippecanoe County about taking over the bridge as part of the U.S. 231 relinquishment.

“We took over the Harrison Bridge several years ago,” Kuhl said. “We’re taking over the State Road 26 bridges across the Wabash, but this bridge was never mentioned.”

Kuhl said before the county would take over the bridge INDOT needs to make about $400,000 worth of repairs.

Monday afternoon Kuhl told News 18 INDOT District Deputy Commissioner Alan Plunkett called her and agreed to the repairs. She said the county’s repairs are more than INDOT was originally planning.

“They were going to do some patching underneath, which we agreed needed to be done,” said Kuhl. “But we also feel, the big problem with that bridge is the amount of water that comes through it. They were going to do some crack sealing on top. We felt like the crack sealing would not be extensive enough.”

The county is asking for a full replacement of the bridge deck. Without a major overhaul of the bridge, Kuhl said the county could not afford to take it over.

“It would be quite a financial burden on our bridge funds because we would have to program that in, and we have enough of our bridges programmed for replacement,” Kuhl said.

The project plans will have to be approved by the county commissioners. INDOT spokeswoman Debbie Calder said she does not feel comfortable talking about the project until it is approved.

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