By Rod Rose
For the Times Sentinel
The Indiana Department of Transportation officials will decide this week whether Boone County is going to lose $2.5 million in federal help to construct a new Ford Road bridge over Eagle Creek.
The existing bridge was built in the late 1920s and is literally crumbling into the stream.
On Tuesday, Jan. 29, after press time, INDOT officials were scheduled to review a list of stalled projects, including the Ford Road bridge proposal, to decide which ones will lose federal funding. The bridge replacement project was awarded federal money in 1995, but soon became controversial, with various groups backing the steel structure and others demanding a modern bridge.
If INDOT does allow the county to retain the funding, it will be used for a 32- to 36-foot wide concrete bridge with decorative — and sturdy — wood sides, County Highway Superintendent Rick Carney said.
“If (INDOT) decides to allow us to keep our funding, I have an engineering firm looking at how quickly it can do the design,” Carney said.
In an effort to help make sure the county keeps the federal money, the Boone County Council voted 4-1 Friday afternoon, Jan. 25, with David Rodgers abstaining, to endorse a letter from Carney to INDOT committing to spend $500,000 as the county’s share of the new bridge. The council will vote on that appropriation at its Feb. 5 meeting.
“This is our best and last attempt to hold on to our funding,” Carney said.
After the meeting, Carney said plans for a new bridge will have to be written.
The new bridge would occupy generally the same space as the current bridge. “It would have to be raised a little to clear the 100-year-flood level,” he said. A curve on the south side would be smoothed, and the intersection of 96th Street moved further north toward Interstate 865.
Not all of that $500,000 might be needed, Carney said, but the amount covers the required 20 percent local match the county must put up to receive federal funding.
Rodgers said he didn’t want to lose the funding, but did not want the county to use federal money “for a bridge that doesn’t connect with any interstate of any kind.”
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for more on this story.