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Lake closes historic Kankakee River Bridge

Lake County is donating the iron bridge over the Kankakee River near the Grand Kankakee Marsh, one of Lake County's oldest bridges, to the Kankakee Valley Historical Society. Crews began disassembling the one-lane, steel truss bridge Monday to replace it with a modern overpass. The bridge has carried traffic on Range Line Road/Clay Street, southeast of Lowell, across the Kankakee since the 1920s. Crews will transport the 169-foot, 60-plus-ton structure some 14 miles upstream to Porter County's Collier Lodge, southwest of Kouts.

CROWN POINT | Workers soon will begin prying up the floor of one of Lake County's oldest bridges.

Lake County Highway Superintendent Marcus Malczewski said he ordered Bridge 2 closed at noon Monday to begin dismantling the one-lane, steel truss bridge that has carried up to 1,400 vehicles a day on Range Line Road/Clay Street, southeast of Lowell, across the Kankakee to Jasper County since the 1920s.

Malczewski said the state was replacing the bridge with a modern two-lane structure scheduled to open Aug. 16, 2015.

He said the process will take nine months because the county is required to preserve the old bridge. The Lake County Board of Commissioners is donating it to the Kankakee Valley Historical Society.

Workers will transport the 169-foot, one-lane structure 14 miles upstream to Porter County's Collier Lodge, southwest of Kouts, where it will eventually be reconstructed over a meandering arm of the great river for visitors to that historic site.

Traffic is being asked to detour east of the work site.

Southbound traffic will be diverted east on Ind. 2 to U.S. 231 and south on U.S. 231 to 15th Street in DeMotte, west on 15th Street, which becomes Jasper County Road 1200 North. Continue west to Newton County Road 600 East.

Northbound traffic will be diverted south on Newton County Road 600 east to Jasper County Road 1200 North, then east on Jasper County Road 1200 North, which becomes 15th Street in DeMotte. Continue east to U.S. 231, north on U.S. 231 and west on Ind. 2 to Clay Street.

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Lake County reporter

Bill has reported in Lake County since 1972 after graduating from Indiana University. He has worked for The Times since 1997, covering the courts and local government during much of his tenure. Born and raised in New Albany, Ind., he is a native Hoosier.