Bridge connecting Indiana and Illinois may be steps closer to reopening

Local

NEW HARMONY, Ind. (WEHT) – A bridge linking Posey County, Indiana, and White County, Illinois, may be one step closer to reopening.

It was built back in 1930 – and connected the two states until 2012 – when it was closed due to corrosion of its structure and not enough funding from tolls. 

“We had a handle on what the bridge was like nine years ago, but it has sat here for nine years and their purpose and why they here today and the next couple days is basically to do a study for us to let us know where we are at and what we have,” said Rod Clark, chairperson of the Indiana Authority for Harmony Way Bridge.

At its peak 900 vehicles crossed the bridge each day and it collected an average of $30,000 a month in tolls. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 due in part to the bridge’s age and relationship to Historic New Harmony.

Bridge officials say the study will focus on structural integrity, safety, design and other options for possible rehabilitation of the historic bridge.

“What they are doing today is the preliminary study on phase one and in phase one they have developed a computerized model from the original drawings from the Working Men’s institute of this bridge,”  said Secretary of Indiana Authority Board Ron Eimer. 

On Monday crews were out climbing trusses and inspecting the spans underneath the bridge. 

Inspectors also used a drone to take pictures of various areas of the bridge and bridge deck. Officials say this is a big step forward.

“This is a tremendous day because all of us have put a tremendous amount of work into getting to this point,” said Eimer. “We have had a lot of help from the Illinois Department of Transportation, their bridge division has been an invaluable resource.”

If the bridge is structurally sound and can be repaired – the second phase of evaluation will be set.

The first phase of the inspection will continue through the end of the summer, and officials say by then they will have a better understanding of the bridge’s future.

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(This story was originally published on June 29, 2020)

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