A bridge on Holliday Road that was considered unsafe, was repaired and is now open to the Zionsville community.

The bridge, which passes over Little Eagle Creek, runs through a wooded residential area between County Road 975 East and U.S. 421 on the north side of Zionsville. It has been closed since May of 2006 after the Boone County Highway Department said the bridge did not meet highway regulations.

“After we conducted our bridge inspection, the bridge reached the point where it was rated less than a 3-ton limit which means anything more than 3-tons in weight couldn’t cross it,” said Tom Kouns, highway supervisor for the Boone County Highway Department. “The bridge got so bad that it actually got below the 3-ton point which meant small cars would be the only thing that would be able to cross the bridge safely.”

The County Highway department conducts an inspection of all bridges, overpasses and county roads every two years. Once a bridge is rated under a 3-ton limit, the road is closed for repairs.

Kouns said the bridge, which has been in place for approximately 100 years, has needed to be repaired at least one other time in its existence. He said many years ago, a concrete truck went through the bridge and collapsed part of it.

Due to the very poor condition of the bridge in 2006, Kouns estimated that the repairs would cost approximately $350,000. The money was budgeted from the Cumulative Bridge Fund the county has in place. He said the bridge needed to be structurally upgraded including new planking, sand blasting and replacing rusted-out parts. In the end, the bridge cost the county $415,000; $65,000 over budget.

“It’s not uncommon to go over budget on a bridge that old,” he said. “No matter how hard you look at a 100-year old bridge, you don’t know exactly what needs to be done until you start taking it apart. The basic structure basically needed basically to be replaced.”

Bernardin Lochmueller and Associates, an engineering firm based out of Evansville, designed the bridge repairs.

“The bridge was getting to the point of being in bad shape,” Jim Gulick, the firm’s chief engineer said. “The county knew it was in bad shape and they wanted to do the necessary repairs to reserve it.”

Gulick said there was a lot of corrosion at the bottom line of the structure, meaning that the base bottom needed to be replaced.

“With time, bridges deteriorate,” he said. “They rust and loose their strength. We inspected the bridge, determined what was wrong, created a plan of action and implemented plans to repair it.”

After a plan was in action, Trisler Construction, a local contractor that has repaired other bridges in Boone County, was assigned to fix the bridge, which began in September 2007. Because the bridge was not heavily traveled upon, the county did not issue a detour. The bridge repair was completed and opened in April 2009. It can now hold 20 tons or more, Kouns said.

“I am very confident this bridge is now safe for motorists,” Kouns said.

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