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Hole in deck leads to bridge closing

Crawford County bridge No. 129 connecting the town of Milltown to S.R. 64 was closed last Tuesday due to a hole about two feet in length in its deck being discovered.
County Commissioner Daniel Crecelius, whose district encompasses the bridge, said it was his understanding that the bridge is currently under emergency repair.
‘I think work is going to begin this morning (Monday). It shouldn’t take very long for them to do what they’ve got to do,’ he said.
Crecelius said the problem started when the bridge broke in two at the column.
‘They went under there and secured that up with high beams, and it is structurally sound, but, between the part that was jacked up and secured that had dropped and the other part of the bridge, there was a two-foot section in there that has deteriorated,’ he said.
The cause of the deterioration, Crecelius said, was from road salt.
‘When looking at it, I noticed that there had been a lot of drainage come through that particular area,’ he said. ‘They asphalted over the concrete, and the salt got down in there and reached through the asphalt, and it just deteriorated the bridge. That was the biggest mistake ever made on that bridge, was asphalting over that concrete, because it holds salt, and you can go under it and the salt just leaks down through the piers.’
Crecelius said that section will be cut out and spliced with a piece of concrete and steel to rest on both the support beams and columns. He anticipates the work to be completed this week, allowing the bridge to re-open soon.
‘Even with this crack, we had our bridge people that do our inspections look at it and, then, also, when I was down there the other day, we had another bridge engineer look at it,’ he said. ‘I don’t want anybody to be scared; it’s not a situation where the bridge is going to collapse. Everything, as far as the engineering side of it, looks stable. I’m not scared to cross it, but I know some people get concerned about that.’
Bridge No. 129, which was closed for some time a few years ago, also has a federal grant through the Indiana Dept. of Transportation in the works to completely replace it; however, Crecelius said that’s a multi-year process.
‘Those things take a long time, but we’re getting close to where construction should start on that as well sometime next year,’ he said. ‘It’s time to get it replaced.’