Griffith wants free replacement of damaged bridge

2014-06-17T22:00:00Z 2014-06-17T22:55:07Z Griffith wants free replacement of damaged bridgeCHARLES F. HABER Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
June 17, 2014 10:00 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | A flood relief project may have helped stormwater move quickly out of the area, but town officials said it also damaged a bridge, making it unusable.

The Town Council on Tuesday received two bids to demolish a damaged bridge and said it will expect restitution from the responsible parties.

Board members said a letter was sent to the Army Corps of Engineers and engineering firm Black & Veatch of Indianapolis.

They were the designers of the Deep Tunnel Project, which created a 10-wide underground tunnel to connect the Cady Marsh Ditch to the Little Calumet River.

The tunnel went into operation in 2007.

"... due to improper design, damage has occurred to Griffith's bridge at Brinwood Street and Arbogast Avenue," the letter states.

The bridge, which crosses over the ditch, was recently closed after officials discovered that a great increase in water flow, because of the tunnel, has badly undercut the bridge supports.

The structure was deemed too dangerous to use and too damaged to repair, board members said.

"We have not filed suit," stressed Council President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd. "This is the letter that officially puts them on notice prior to other action."

Ryfa said the town's legal representatives have been in contact with the Army Corps since the letter was sent.

"We are hopeful that all issues can be resolved without the need to settle the matter in the courts," he said.

In the meantime, the demolition bids will be examined by the town attorney and public works director.

Ellis Construction, of Gary, submitted a bid for $16,300; Tonn & Blank, of Michigan City, bid for $35,000.

Ryfa said the bridge, built in the 1960s, will be razed early next month and the town hopes construction of the new one will start around Aug. 1.

To expedite the project, the design work will be done as the new bridge is constructed, Ryfa said.

Town officials have estimated the cost at $500,000.

In other business, the council presented an award of appreciation to former Police Chief Ron Kottka for his 38 years of service to the department.

Current Police Chief Greg Mance gave the special plaque to Kottka, along with his official retirement badge.

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