AP NEWS

Effort to reopen bridge between Indiana, Illinois gets boost

December 23, 2019 GMT

NEW HARMONY, Ind. (AP) — An effort to reopen a Wabash River bridge between Indiana and Illinois that was closed in 2012 amid safety concerns is getting a $350,000 boost from the state of Indiana.

Indiana officials announced the funding Friday for the Harmony Way Bridge, which runs between New Harmony, Indiana, and White County, Illinois, The Evansville Courier & Press reported.

Although there’s no timeline for reopening the span, the New Harmony-Wabash River Bridge Authority said the funding is “seed money” which represents a critical step toward repairing and reopening the bridge.

“This money will cover half of the estimated inspection and repair costs to re-open the bridge, which should then self-sustain as a toll bridge once it’s re-opened,” the bridge authority said in a news release. “The other half of the funding is expected to come the state of Illinois through the Illinois Bridge Authority as equal partners in this innovative solution to this regional need.”

The Harmony Way Bridge was built in 1930 by a private company in an area about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Evansville. It was purchased by the federal government in 1941.

When public safety concerns led to its closure in 2012, the White County Bridge Commission — which had managed the span — didn’t have the funding to make needed repairs.

But the bridge authority said that local, regional, state and federal officials worked “across party lines and state lines to find a permanent and creative solution to an 80-year challenge.”