A federal grant of up to $1.6 million will help Bartholomew County replace an aging bridge near Newbern next year.
Bartholomew County Commissioners agreed to accept the grant at their Monday morning meeting. As recently as December, county officials were told that funding for the project was being pulled by the state, which administers the federal grant.
County Engineer Danny Hollander said the project is expected to cost about $1.2 million, but the grant would cover up to $1.6 million. The county’s share would be 20 percent of the total cost, while the rest would be covered by the grant.
Hollander said the grant will cover the dismantling of the old bridge and moving it to its new location on 25th Street for the People Trail. However, the grant will not pay for the refurbishing and reconstruction of the bridge at the new location, he said. For that, the county still hopes to receive a $600,000 federal grant, but that funding is in limbo, he said.
“We haven’t given up on it yet,” Hollander said. “The state is wanting to take it away, and we and the city are working to try to hang on to it.”
The city would pay for the approaches and paths to the bridge on the People Trail, Hollander said.
Hollander said bids for the project would be sought in February, and the work should be completed next year.
He said officials organizing the first Cummins Marathon this year had been hopeful that the bridge would be in place by the September race, but that is not going to be possible, he said.
The Newbern bridge project, started in 1999, would replace a 102-year-old bridge. Since planning began, the project has been delayed for archaeological digs, historic studies on the bridge itself and with problems sorting out who owns various pieces of the right-of-way.
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