County News # 1Ben Beer from USI Consultants presented the Marshall County Commissioners with a Comprehensive Bridge Management Plan during Monday’s meeting.

Beer said the plan is in conjunction with what is required by INDOT for the Bridge Asset Management Plan and makes the county eligible for the Community Crossing grant and other grants.

The Bridge Management Plan is a living document and a planning tool for the county for financial planning.  The plan prioritizes the bridge projects and culverts until 2028.  It projects out needs and cost estimates and recommends the funding mechanism; federal aid, local project or state.

There are 117 bridges in Marshall County that the commissioners are responsible for.  Beer noted that our county has a higher number of river bridges and their average length is 69 feet while Kosciusko County’s average length being 50 feet.

Beer said there are 4 bridges where the superstructure is rated a 4 or less, requiring 12 month inspection cycles and 9 more bridges have their superstructures rated a 5 or less.  He said those could become another annual inspection in the near future.

The current list has 9 river bridges on the replacement list with two of them, Hickory Road and King Road are active projects programmed with federal aid.  The bridge on West 11th Road and the one on South Upas should be the next priorities.

Beer suggested implementing some preventative maintenance type activities like they are currently doing, but more so on the bridges that have been rehabbed or replaced over the past few years.

Commissioner Kevin Overmyer commented, “It’s a huge expense.  It’s no fault of anybodies.”  He said the county may need to look at increasing the tax rate on the cum bridge fund back up to the maximum level, similar to what they did this year with the cum cap development fund.