August 22, 2013

Foreman says rain, river rises creating delays in trail bridge project

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune

---- — Rain and rising water levels are creating delays in the construction of the new trail bridge that will connect the Eel River Run Trail and River Bluff Trail over the Eel River at Riverside Park, the project’s foreman says.

Tony Isom of Jack Isom Construction Company, foreman on the job, said spring and summer rains have made the site unworkable on eight to 10 occasions since starting the project in March.

“We couldn’t work, we couldn’t get out here,” Isom said. “It’s been a long process, it’s been a rough job.”

The finish date for the 300-feet long, 10-foot-wide bridge was originally projected to be in October.

“They were hoping for that,” Isom said. “I don’t think it will, but I hope it will.”

Isom went on to say the lack of rain recently has allowed work to resume uninterrupted.

“We’ve gotten a lot done with the weather being nice lately,” he said.

On Wednesday, Isom’s crew was working on the bridge’s first of two piers. Its footer had been driven 8 feet into the stone beneath the river and all that’s left is adding more rebar to the top before its concrete cap can be poured, Isom said.

After the first pier is complete, Isom said they will start working on the second pier on the other side of the river. Then they will start constructing the bridge’s end bents, or supporting frame structures on the banks of each side of the river.

Setting the steal beams on top of the piers will follow, then pouring the concrete that will become the bridge’s path.

The bridge will also feature blank-painted rails and two pairs of limestone-clad pillars.

Some 80 percent of the the $1.2 million project is being funded through a match grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation. The remaining 20 percent was contributed by Logansport businessman Milt Cole, president of Cole Hardwood.

Matt Deitchley, media relations director for INDOT’s LaPorte District, said in an email that the department awarded Jack Isom Construction Company’s bid of $760,657 in March.

Indianapolis-based construction management firm RW Armstrong, which is overseeing the project, did not return a request for comment.

The Eel River Run trail, which will lead up to the bridge on the river’s south side, was completed in November. The River Bluff Trail, which is owned by the Logansport Memorial Hospital Foundation, was completed in 2003 and goes from the north side of the Eel River to the Hervey Preserve.

Eel River Run Committee Chairwoman Mercedes Brugh, Logansport Memorial Hospital Vice President for Planning and Development Vicki Byrd and Logansport Parks Administrator Jan Fawley have been involved with the project since its inception. The three say the bridge is part of an effort to continue to connect the city’s trails and parks.

Brugh declined to comment except to say she is meeting with representatives from RW Armstrong, INDOT and Jack Isom Construction Copmany next week to get a better idea of how the project is moving forward.

Fawley and Byrd could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or