TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Crews opened the McDaniel Road Bridge around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon. As residents in the area rejoice, they say it couldn't have come any sooner.
One excited motorist, is Terre Haute resident Eric Wright. He says he has a long history with the McDaniel Road Bridge.
Wright shares, “I lived actually closer to it before and watched this whole thing get built and was interfered with the whole time. I lived directly south of this bypass actually right on McDaniel Road and I used to have to go all the way around to 41, or come right back around the Idle Creek way. So when it finally opened, I was great. Then within two years later, it's closed down again for another year and that was my frustration."
The wall under the McDaniel Road Bridge failed in December of 2016, closing the bridge. Debbie Calder with the Indiana Department of Transportation says even though a year has passed, the cause of the wall's failure is still being investigated.
Calder says, "There are not a lot of answers available yet. The cause of the failure is yet to be determined. INDOT is still waiting on tests results from components sampled during deconstruction of the old wall."
During the time the bridge has been closed, routes for many motorists have had to change. This has caused some major headaches for drivers at times.
Wright recalls, "A back road there which has a lot of curves like I said it's not your straight shot. It probably adds a couple of minutes. Not to mention, the lovely trains in Terre Haute which everybody sees all the time, and I've been stopped at the tracks over here numerous times, where this lovely bypass being open will not interfere with those trains anymore either."
As a safety professional himself, Wright says he's trying to be understanding of the time frame it took to fix the bridge.
Wright says, "I'm glad they finally got it done. I'm not sure what the holdup was, and obviously we're ignorant to the facts of what all is going on. Obviously we want it to be safe. I'm sure they had to do some studies, engineering work, redesign everything for this recent closure, and hopefully they got it fixed."
As for motorists concerned about the stability of the other bridge wall, Calder says, "The other side has not exhibited any failure symptoms to date, but INDOT is planning to do exploratory testing in early spring of next year because it is the same type of wall system built by the same contractor."
Another question many have is who is covering the cost of the MSE wall replacement. Calder says, "Walsh Construction has not yet submitted replacement cost but it is currently estimated at around one million dollars. Walsh has to date absorbed the cost, but the final outcome on responsibility is yet to be determined."