An emergency declaration will allow work to begin almost immediately on a significant southern Bartholomew County river crossing.
The declaration Monday by the Bartholomew County Commissioners came two days after emergency management personnel announced that County Road 800S would be closed indefinitely between State Road 11 and U.S. 31 because of water damage to a bridge.
The declaration means the commissioners will avoid going through a lengthy bidding process to make the repairs on one of the bridges that crosses East Fork White River, just west of Azalia, commissioner Carl Lienhoop said.
“It will likely get the bridge opened three times faster,” Lienhoop said.
Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz expressed optimism that Milestone Contractors, which has been asked to begin repairs as soon as possible, can reopen 800S within six weeks.
The damage took place on the edge of a 26-foot-long bridge that spans a flooding overflow area west of the big bridge that crosses East Fork White River, county highway engineer Danny Hollander said.
An inspection indicates water got under the road as it was flooding last week, causing the ground to weaken and erode where the edge of the bridge meets the ground.
For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.