GRIFFITH | The Town Council has decided a bridge which crosses the Cady Marsh Ditch is structurally unsound and must be demolished.
The bridge on Arbogast Road appears to have sustained severe deterioration at its base, said Council President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd.
“It was thoroughly looked at by two engineering firms,” he said.
The problem apparently “has been caused by a tremendous increase in water flow and velocity" as a result of the Griffith deep tunnel being put in operation in 2007, officials said.
This project, by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, created a 10-foot wide underground tunnel that connects the ditch to the Little Calumet River.
“Our engineers believe that mistakes may have been made about 10 years ago in the design phase of this project when the effects of increased water flow at the base of the bridge were not properly taken into consideration,” Ryfa said.
Ryfa said the board is aware of the safety and inconvenience issues involved and is taking steps to remove and replace the bridge as soon as possible.
The council estimated the cost at $500,000.
Board members ruled out temporary repairs because this would be almost as costly as replacing the bridge, which dates to the 1960s.
Due to the emergency, the normal bidding process is not required and the town is requesting quotes from a number of construction companies, said Councilman Larry Ballah, R-2nd.
Town Attorney Robert Schwerd said companies will have 10 days to submit the quotes. The companies are: Grimmer Construction of Highland, Superior Construction of Gary, Dyer Construction of Dyer, Action Construction of Livonia, Mich., Gough Construction of Merrillville, Ellas Construction of Gary, and Tonn & Blank of Michigan City.
To get the new bridge in operation as soon as possible, construction will take place as the design is developed, Schwerd said.
“We hope it's done before October,” Ryfa said.
He said the biggest time obstacle will be obtaining all the state permits necessary to build the new bridge.
“The town is currently working toward identifying who is responsible" (for the bad design to hold them financially responsible), Ryfa said.