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November 9, 2012

Commission seeks voice in bridge design

Members hope state will restore Market Street span

LOGANSPORT — The Logansport Historic Preservation Commission is hoping state transportation officials will take a lesson from the Third Street bridge project as they consider work on a second historic bridge.

At its meeting Thursday, the commission discussed plans for the Market Street bridge.

The Indiana Department of Transportation has agreed to upgrade the Market Street bridge before handing it over to Cass County as part of the Hoosier Heartland project. In an interview after the meeting, Matt Deitchley, spokesman for INDOT’s LaPorte District, said Thursday the state had no firm timetable for completing that work.

At the close of Thursday’s discussion, Cathy Isaacs, the commission chairman, said she would direct a letter to INDOT asking that the commission be kept informed on the project’s design.

Commission members have played a key role in the Third Street bridge project.

The $2.3 million restoration will include replacing the decking and restoring the bridge’s historic concrete railing. The restored bridge also will feature historical lighting. 

Work on the project had been delayed by the moving of telephone cables, but state transportation officials say that work is due to be finished by the end of the year.

The state decided in the 1990s to tear down the old bridge and build a new one, but commission members objected, noting that the structure was one of three remaining bridges designed by Daniel Luten, an engineer of the early 20th century. 

“When it’s completed, it’s going to be restored to the original design because of the significance of Luten,” said Teri Hawes, a member of the commission. 

Engineers also determined that restoring the old structure might actually cost less than replacing it. 

“We want everyone to see this as positive,” said Kathy Dingo, a member of the commission. “The state was going to completely demolish it and put up a new bridge. We saved money by rehabilitation.”

Isaacs said she and her colleagues were hoping for a similar finding with the Market Street bridge.

“It is more cost effective to restore it in this case, too,” she said. “We want to make sure it’s not demolished.” 

Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or amie.sites@pharostribune.com. 

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