Demolition of bridge at Markland gets underway

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After months of outcry from members of the community and former members of the community, the old bridge at Markland that spans Log Lick Creek is coming down.

At the June 2nd commissioner’s meeting, the county commissioners approved a quote by Fred McAlister to take down and remove the bridge at a cost of $21,800. The removal of the bridge was deemed necessary by the commissioners for liability reasons. It has been closed to traffic for decades, and the flooring of the bridge is decayed, sections of the deck are missing, and the entire area is overgrown with foliage.

County official Bruce Williams at that time said that the contract between the county and the McAlisters does not include a timeframe for the removal of the bridge, but the commissioners had signed off on the contract and was out of the process.

Members of Historic Landmarks of Indiana and also interested members of the Switzerland County community made offers to the county to try and save the bridge; but county commissioners took the position that they had already signed the contract for the bridge to be removed, so they no longer had control over the bridge.

Work began late last week to taking the bridge down. Workers had to wait until the proper permits were issued by the state because the bridge had to be dropped into Log Lick Creek, and those permits have been approved.

Workers began by taking down the east side of the bridge – the side nearest the community of Markland – and also had to do quite of bit of excavation of the site in order to remove trees and other debris that inhibited trucks and machinery from moving to and from the bridge.

The east end is now down on the hillside; but workers now face the task of taking down the west side of the bridge. County officials promised landowners on the Markland Pike side of the bridge that no demolition work would take place on that side of the bridge.

There is no timetable for completion of the project, as weather and other factors will play a role in how fast the bridge pieces come out of the area.

According to www.bridgehunter.com; the Log Lick Creek bridge was a Through Truss Bridge, and was built in 1882. It spanned just over 198-feet at its largest point; and overall its total length was just over 201 feet.

Nathan Holt of Historic Bridges of Michigan and Elsewhere, noted in July of this year that the bridge is: “…A classic Wrought Iron Bridge Company Whipple Thru Truss, built according to one of their earliest patents for the design.”

Nathan Holt said in July that the fact that the bridge is a Whipple design alone makes it very important to save and preserve.

Although the bridge was no longer usable, it was still in the county’s “bridge book” – Bridge #49, so the county was responsible for liability issues involving the bridge and people being on it; which is why the commissioners felt that it was best to take the bridge down before someone was injured.