Bridging the gap in Portage

October 17, 2012 by  

On October 3, work began on replacing the Evergreen Avenue Bridge in Portage, Indiana. The bridge was closed in March 2011 because the deck was disintegrating, and it has remained closed ever since, forcing residents on the northwest side of the city to find alternate routes to work. In many cases, these routes added fewer than two miles to the trip but some residents found the inconvenience annoying.

Nurse Kandy Keller described the need to detour “a pain” and added that although it is only a short distance, soaring gas prices make every bit of extra mileage a cause for concern. Her opinions were echoed by John Schafer, who is now retired but would have been forced to find an alternate if he were still working – something he claimed would have made him “mad”.

The bridge is under the jurisdiction of the county, which is responsible for all bridges on city and county roads that are longer than 20 feet. The bridge replacement was approved by the Porter County Board of Commissioners, who selected Gariup Construction of Gary, Indiana, to do the work. Gariup bid $573,400 for the job, with construction scheduled to begin October 22and finish on or before January 30, 2013.

Bridge paving will be a ‘cold mix’ until spring, when the permanent surface will be laid. Landscaping around the bridge will also have to wait for warmer weather.

The county might consider printing brochures that highlight the features of the new bridge, showing taxpayers how their money was spent. It might also consider flyer printing to show alternate routes in case the bridge is closed for longer than anticipated.