Historic Landmarks offers to help the county save Markland Bridge from demolition


The future of the old bridge in Markland that spans Log Lick Creek was again a matter of discussion at Monday’s meeting of the Switzerland County Commissioners.

Kent Abraham, the Director of the Southeast office of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, was at Monday’s meeting to offer any help that his organization might be able to provide in order to save the bridge.

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.

Kent Abraham asked the commissioners for some time so that his organization and others interested in saving the bridge could work out a plan that would keep it from being dismantled and sold as scrap. At Monday’s meeting, the commissioners told Kent Abraham that the county had already entered into a contract to have the bridge taken down, and that any agreement to delay demolition would have to be between Historic Landmarks and Fred McAlister.

Fred McAlister said on Wednesday morning that he expects to begin bringing the bridge down in about a week.

County official Bruce Williams 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.

Kent Abraham told the commissioners that anything this would be done to save the bridge would occur without any expense to the county, but that he and his organization needed time to figure out a plan for taking it down and removing it from the site.

Before attending the commissioners meeting, Kent Abraham stopped at the Vevay Newspapers office, and said that saving the bridge was a top priority.

“Right now we’re just trying to save it and keep it from being torn down,” he said. “It is a bridge with a lot of historic significance, and it’s certainly worth saving. We just have to have some time. I have spoken with people who know a lot about these types of bridges, and they were designed to be taken down and moved to other locations, so removing it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Kent Abraham said that just what would happen to the bridge if it is saved hasn’t been discussed in detail, because currently the group is just trying to keep it from being demolished, but possible uses – either here in Switzerland County or somewhere else – include creating a walking or bike bridge over it; putting it in a bridge park where people could explore its structure; or putting it in a park for the enjoyment of the community.

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