EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) After reviewing the damage for months, the Indiana Department of Transportation has decided the U.S. 41 Pigeon Creek bridge in Evansville needs to be replaced.
Back in January, a semi, hauling an oversized load, missed a turn and hit the bridge, compromising the overall integrity of the 80-year-old bridge. INDOT personnel have been working on a solution since the incident. INDOT said it has determined that replacing the bridge is a more fiscally responsible option over repairing the existing structure.
“I mean this bridge was hit pretty hard and unfortunately it was not able to be saved and repaired at least not cost effectively,” said Jason Tiller, communications director for INDOT.
The damage came just weeks after the bridge was re-opened following an extensive rehabilitation project.
The decision to replace the bridge is, in part, due to reduced costs for maintenance over the bridge’s lifespan and less risk of a future bridge strike as a modern replacement would not have a height restriction. The initial cost of the project is expected to be about $10 million, which includes the cost of raising the replacement bridge to match the grade of the structure in the northbound lanes and the associated pavement work. The estimate also includes a pavement repair on U.S. 41 from Diamond Avenue to Lynch Road.
Tiller said INDOT is grateful for the community’s support throughout this process, but it needs just a little more patience as the agency looks at a summer 2021 construction date. How long construction will last is still up in the air.
“We have to bring the existing bridge and the existing grade up to match the northbound lanes so there’s going to be quite a bit of work to do with this process,” Tiller said. “At this point I don’t have a good estimate as to when that bridge will be completed however, I would estimate it’ll take some time.”
Final designs for the bridge are still on the drawing board but Tiller said the new bridge will not look like the old one.
“The new bridge will be a modern bridge and won’t be a truss structure, it will more closely resemble the northbound bridge,” he said.
Since INDOT has filed a legal papers asking the semi driver and his company to pay for $10 million in repairs. That lawsuit is still working its way through the court system but transportation officials plan to build the bridge first then figure out if the state will be reimbursed.
(This story was originally published on December 15, 2020)