By Rod Rose The Lebanon Reporter
---- — A new Ford Road bridge over Eagle Creek in Zionsville could be open as soon as October next year.
Butler Fairman & Seufert Engineers were awarded a $245,000 contract to design the bridge, pending final review of the document by Boone County Attorney Bob Clutter. The company was chosen from six engineering firms interviewed by the Boone County Commissioners on July 1.
Replacement of the current Ford Road bridge, built in 1921, has been proposed since 1995. A plan to replace it with an 80-year old steel bridge declared surplus by the state highway department was stopped last year, after the Boone County Council on July 11, 2012, pulled funding for the plan. That decision indirectly contributed to the loss of $2.5 million in federal and state matching funds, when the Indiana Department of Transportation declared the project was one of hundreds statewide that had taken too long to begin.
On Jan. 25, the county council voted 4-1 to commit $500,000 to the bridge project, in what proved to be a futile effort to keep the federal funding. That amount would have been 20 percent of the estimated cost, representing the matching funds that the county would have to provide if federal assistance was used for the bridge.
Construction of the $1.87 million new bridge is scheduled to begin on April 21, with completion in five to six months, BF&S representatives told the commissioners on July 1, according to their minutes. A preliminary design would be ready Sept. 16, a final design submitted by March 3, and the construction contract awarded April 17, 2014.
Public hearings could be required before the work begins, however.
The area of the bridge is a federal historical district, which might mean a hearing must be conducted, County Attorney Bob Clutter said Monday afternoon.
Another hearing may be needed because the commissioners, who are responsible for the maintenance and construction of all bridges in the county regardless of location, will need county council approval for construction costs.
As proposed, the new bridge will include two 85-foot spans, angled to align with Eagle Creek. It will have timber railings, and have twice the high water clearance as the existing bridge.
A curve on the south side of the project, where Ford Road intersects with West 96th Street, would be increased from a 100-foot to 130-foot radius.
At their interview, BF&S representatives said they would use all existing surveys, reports and permits already issued by state agencies, according to commissioner minutes.
Also interviewed July 1 were: James Barker of Barker Engineering, who had done design work on the steel bridge; BLN, which had worked on the project from 1994 until the early 2000s, and estimated cost at $2.26 million; Stephen J. Christian & Associates; Clark Dietz