Work is progressing on new bridge over Turtle Creek

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After years of haggling with the federal government, work is now underway for the replacement of the old bridge that spans Turtle Creek near Florence.

The work is being done by McAlister Excavating, and the work is expected to be completed around May 17th of next year. Not only is the bridge being replaced, but a curve in the road is being taken out to make the traffic flow much more smoothly through that area.

Cathy McAlister said that workers got a late start on the project because everyone was waiting on a “Notice to Proceed” from the State of Indiana. That notice was finally received on August 17th; and utility companies that will need to relocate their utilities because of the new bridge did not get their notice to proceed until early September.

Embark, REMC, and Patriot Water all have utilities that will need to be relocated.

The Turtle Creek bridge has long been a topic of discussion and debate from here to Indianapolis – as the deteriorating condition of the bridge has made traffic hazardous; but some state officials wanted to make sure that any historic significance to the bridge was preserved.

Having maneuvered around those obstacles, the county has been waiting for the final release of funds by the federal government, which will pay 80-percent of the project’s cost.

The entire project has been eight years in waiting for the process to move through different levels of government.

The county awarded the bid for the project to McAlister Excavating in June with a bid of $974,135.69.

“The delay in getting started after the bid was awarded came from waiting on the state,” Cathy McAlister said. “Things are on schedule now.”

The old bridge itself is still standing, mainly because the utilities workers need to move back and forth across it while relocating their lines. McAlister Excavating is also using the bridge to move trucks back and forth, but it is officially closed to local traffic.

A detour of Florence Hill Road has been established for motorists.

“We actually have the demolition report done,” Cathy McAlister said of the tearing down of the old bridge. “But as long as the utility companies need it, for now it’s staying up.”