PLEASANT TOWNSHIP | The historic bridge on Ind. 49 over the Kankakee River, which has been restricted to one lane for almost two years, is slated to be rebuilt in 2014.
Matt Deitchley, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation LaPorte District, said the bridge at the Jasper/Porter county line was closed after engineers determined in early 2012 it needed a full deck replacement. A signal at each end allows only one direction of traffic through at a time, and it has a weight limit.
The long time to start the repair spawned rumors the money was being spent on other projects for more politically connected areas, but Deitchley said that is not the case. He said INDOT had a plan, but when the local communities were approached about it, they wanted a higher weight limit because of the truck traffic.
The latest design for a 36-ton limit was presented at a public hearing in September. Deitchley said the department also wants to preserve the historic truss design of the bridge, so it will not be completely torn down. The deck will be replaced while the original look will be maintained.
The project is on the department's schedule to open bids and award the contract early in 2014 and have the project completed during one construction season, he said.