County bridge repairs to close local roads

HANCOCK COUNTY — Work on two bridges that have fallen into disrepair will pose potential delays to drivers traveling through New Palestine and McCordsville this spring.

Both structures have deteriorating steel elements, a common problem among bridges that are used regularly, said county highway engineer Gary Pool.

A bridge on County Road 600S between county roads 400W and 300W will be rebuilt in New Palestine. Another bridge, along West County Road 600N between county roads 400W and 350W in McCordsville, also will be reconstructed.

More than 1,200 drivers use the New Palestine bridge each day, while about 2,700 cars cross the McCordsville bridge daily, according to county traffic data.

Crews are scheduled to begin work on both projects in March, Pool said; he expects both projects to wrap up in early September.

Though the detours haven’t been decided, construction will close all lanes of traffic along both bridges, forcing motorists to plan alternate routes, said Hancock County Commissioner Brad Armstrong.

Together, both projects are estimated to cost the county about $1.1 million. That sum will be pulled from the county’s bridge fund, which is collected from local property taxes.

Gladys Robison, a New Palestine resident who lives along County Road 600S less than a mile east of the future construction site, said she’s not looking forward to finding an alternate route when work begins.

Robison said she prefers to take the county road when she runs her weekly errands in downtown New Palestine. But with the closure, she’ll need to take U.S. 52 to reach the same destinations, she said.

Though the highway is a more direct route, it clogs up easily during evening rush hour, she said.

Pool said he knows the repairs will disrupt traffic in the areas affected, but he said he plans to work closely with crews to keep construction to its projected timeline.

In addition to the two bridges scheduled for reconstruction this spring, five of the county’s 162 bridges will likely need repairs in future years, Pool said.

Those structures are still safe for public use, Pool said, adding that highway department workers thoroughly inspect bridges every two years and regularly monitor for damage.

Hancock County’s bridges fare better than most other Indiana communities. On average, more than 10 percent of Indiana counties’ bridges are in need of repair, compared to about 4 percent locally, according to data collected by the Federal Highway Administration.

What areas will be affected?

A bridge on County Road 600S between county roads 400W and 300W will be rebuilt in New Palestine. Another bridge along West County Road 600N between county roads 400W and 350W in McCordsville will also be reconstructed.

County officials say construction will close all lanes of traffic along both bridges and will pose a potential delay for local motorists.

Work is scheduled to begin in March and end in September.

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Daniel Morgan is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (317) 477-3228 or dmorgan@greenfieldreporter.com.