The section of County Road 1100N between Pioneer Trail and Dickinson Road
reopened Monday after Porter County Highway Dept. workers spent six weeks
installing a new aluminum bridge to replace the old one over Coffee Creek.
Highway Superintendent Al Hoagland said crews paved the road on Friday and
finished striping on Monday, in time for the first day of school this week.
Travel had been a concern for school buses crossing the bridge last year as
the county worked to get the necessary permits from the Indiana Department
of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation and other agencies.
The former bridge suffered corrosion damage which created a “bounce” for
crossing vehicles, Hoagland said. The last time the bridge had been rehabbed
was in 1968, Hoagland added, and it had been considered “structurally
deficient.” The original bridge structure was installed in the early 1940s,
according to Hoagland.
Based on INDOT standards, The 1100N bridge was considered the second worst
bridge in the county, Hoagland said. The highway department also repaired
the worst-ranking bridge, on CR 100W in Porter Twp., last year.
Crews will finish installing erosion control blankets, which are made of
fiber that holds and protect seedlings and makes it easier for vegetation to
County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, commended the highway
workers on finishing the project while providing an in-house savings to the
County over contracting with an outside company.
“They worked very hard to get this done,” he said.
Evans said that while the bridge is located within the Chesterton town
limits, the County is responsible for maintaining any bridge more than 20
feet long using county tax dollars.
Hoagland said he was not sure what the final price will be on the complete
project but the new bridge unit itself cost $139,000. The final tab will be
“well-under” what it would have cost to hire a contractor, which likely
would have been upwards of $1 million.
The County has commonly installed these types of pre-engineered aluminum
bridges after the massive flooding seen in 2008, Hoagland said.
Hoagland thanked the town of Chesterton for its cooperation in relocating a
sanitary sewer main fixed to the bridge before work began.