TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – 32 out of the 200 bridges in Vigo County either need to be rehabilitated or replaced.
This work could cost an estimated $17 million to get the projects done.
Four bridges in Vigo County are already closed and two of those are because of damage to them. Although funding for those four closed bridges are set, the others are up in the air.
Bridges are evaluated on a ‘sufficiency scale’ that goes from 1 to 10. A grade of 1 means that bridge should be closed immediately, to a perfectly good bridge at a 10 grade. The bridges that are open, but fall into the 2, 3 or 4 range, are ones that highway officials would like to address. Vigo County Engineer Larry Robbins said that it’s a fight to find funding.
“With budgets the way that they are and construction cost rising, we’re fighting that uphill battle,” Robbins said.
Robbins said that they only get about $900,000 per year in revenue to maintain the 200 bridges in the county. A number well off the estimated $17 million. So for future bridges that may fall into a 1 sufficiency rating such as the ones closed already could mean trouble.
“If there aren’t sufficient funds to take care of it at that point then it will have to remain closed for a significant amount of time,” Robbins said.
Federal ARPA funds is a route that county leaders suggest could be the way to go. Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer said that this could help ease the issue, but would need county council approval.
“I think a great way to alleviate some of the immediate stress is to use ARPA funds,” Switzer said. “We’re looking forward to hopefully having that conversation and dialogue with the council to see what the next steps are.”
Robbins also said that the potential of having ARPA funds would be beneficial. He also mentioned that he’s looking at every avenue to find funds whether that be community crossing grants or other state awards.
The two closed bridges due to damage are on Greencastle Rd. and Morris Pl. Robbins said that they’re just waiting on materials to get those fixed.
Switzer said that bridges will continue to be a point of emphasis for the commissioners and the engineering department.
“It certainly became a focus point for the commissioners and the engineering department especially in the last three months or so,” Switzer said.