Michigan Street Bridge has been under scrutiny since cracks were found in the structure last year. Construction to fix the bridge is well under way.
Now, WSBT’s Fact Finder team takes a closer look at other bridges in St. Joseph County. What are their conditions and how safe are they?
This is a story WSBT first began looking into last year and found 17 bridges were deemed “structurally deficient.” Of those 17 deficient bridges, the state is responsible for seven; the county for 10.
A year later, little progress has been made because getting money to fix or replace bridges is basically non-existent.
Cases In PointConstruction on the Mishawaka Avenue Bridge finished up last year just after it made a national bridge deficiency list.
"It’s so convenient,” said Kathy Kehrer. “It’s the best thing they could have done was update this bridge." The paint still looks fresh. The railings represent antique porcelain. This bridge is a beauty.
"I lived here 15-20 years ago when the old bridge was here," Kehrer said. "This is a much bigger and better bridge." Crews expanded the sidewalks, replaced railings and added a tunnel.
At the Beech Road Bridge, it’s a different story. Rust is easy to spot and a dent can’t be ignored. The bridge is still considered “structurally deficient.” It was set to be replaced this year, but a lack of county funds delayed construction until next year.
County officials said the Beech Road Bridge is still safe and stable. County and state officials claim “structurally deficient” doesn’t mean unsafe.The Nimitz Parkway Bridge over U.S. 31 is set to be repaired next year. Indiana Department of Transportation officials say this bridge needs only “minor maintenance.” INDOT’s timetable to fix bridges has more to do with resources than funding.
State and county officials inspect bridges every two years.
The St. Joseph County Engineer is working to get federal money to fix or replace other bridges deemed “insufficient.” But just last year, the bridge repair budget was cut in half.
Of 17 bridges on the list last summer, five have been repaired or replaced and there is a plan in place for all these bridges to be repaired. But, we’re looking at 2016 until all the work is done.
Here’s a list of the 17 structurally deficient bridges in St. Joseph County:
Indiana Department Of Transportation jurisdiction
- S.R. 23 at Pine Creek … Replacement scheduled for 2014
- S.R. 23 at St. Joseph River … Replaced in 2010
- U.S. 31 at Nimtz Parkway … Repairs scheduled for 2013