WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Cook Road Bridge in Vigo County has been closed for more than a year. But Wednesday, the project to replace the bridge took a large step forward.
Rewind to last May. There were consistent, heavy downpours that led to major flooding in the area of the bridge. The storms destroyed the structure.
Vigo County Engineer Larry Robbins says, “The nature of this creek is it's pretty wild and gnarly. So when it comes up, it comes up pretty fast. It gets a lot of debris that washes down it."
Robbins is one of many working to get the bridge open again. The bridge has been closed since last May.
In October, the bridge was declared an “emergency bridge”. That opened the door for bids to begin repair work.
Robbins says, "This is going to be a clear span structure as you can see, so it hopefully won't catch as much debris as it did before."
Construction on the bridge started in December. But for months, crews battled bad weather. Then there was another wrinkle in the plan.
Robbins shares, "We encountered shale which is kind of out of the ordinary for our county at this level. So we had to switch design from a pile-driven foundation to a setter food foundation. So that set us back a little bit."
Combine those two large factors, and the original 60 to 90-day project time frame was shattered.
Robbins says, "There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes of any construction project that the public usually doesn't see. That roadblocks that we have to overcome."
But Wednesday, there was a glimmer of hope. That's as the steel beams for the bridge structure were placed. They are vital pieces to this big puzzle.
Robbins says, "We appreciate them being patient, we hope to have a better product than what was here before."
So after months of residents dealing with a detour a new finish date is finally in sight.
Robbins says crews need to finish the bridge structure, lay the bridge deck, and finish the approaches.
He says they're looking at one month until the road is open.
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