Report classifies I-65 bridge over Wabash River 'structurally deficient'

They get us from point A to point B, but how often do we think about the condition of the bridges we drive across.

Posted: Apr 9, 2019 11:10 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2019 11:13 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — They get us from point A to point B, but how often do we think about the condition of the bridges we drive across.

A recent report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association suggests the state is staying on top of things. Of the more than 19,000 bridges in Indiana, just over 1,200 are classified as structurally deficient.

Purdue Professor of Civil Engineering Mark Bowman said that term isn't as scary as it sounds.

"It doesn't mean it's going to fail, it's not going to collapse but it means it's reached a poor condition and it's time to start thinking about possibly scheduling a replacement," said Bowman. 

The report breaks down the top most traveled structurally deficient bridges in Indiana. The I-65 south bound bridge over the Wabash River in Tippecanoe County is on that list.

INDOT Communications Director Debbie Calder said the state began work on it last year.

"We're replacing the decks on both of the I-65 north and south bound bridges over the Wabash River and we are widening them," said Calder.

Bridges are inspected every two years, some as much as twice in one year depending on their condition.

"Some things we've done is put a weight restriction on it, we might only allow one lane of traffic on a bridge at a time or worse case scenario, we would close the bridge until it can be repaired," said Calder. 

At this point, Calder said there's no reason to think this project will reach that worst case scenario. The plans they have right now should be complete by fall of 2020.

Bowman said preventative maintenance like that, put INDOT ahead of the problem. "Bridges like people wear out and it's going to need to be replaced."

To view the full report, click here.

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