Rod and Sherry Hess who live at 14252 11th Road in Plymouth appeared before the Marshall County Commissioners on Tuesday to seek answers to several questions they have on the 11th Road bridge project. 

The Hess’s said they received a certified letter from the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources in December about the project and want to know how the bridge project will affect their property value and safety.  They said the current bridge was built in 1965 and wondered what the life expectancy of a bridge is. They also asked who decides what bridges will be repaired or replaced and if this bridge project is receiving federal aid.

Rod Hess told the commissioners he received a copy of the bridge plans and questioned why they are proposing a 3-span bridge which will require a pier in the middle of the river that allow debris to get stuck around it. 

Mr. Hess said USI had done some soil borings two-years ago for this project.  He also cautioned the commissioners that a 75-pound tombstone was located on his property in 1982.  The stone was for a doctor’s wife who died in 1869. He was concerned that the environmental report my find a burial site and that could delay the project.  Rod also noted the 13 Road Bridge project that took several years to complete and didn’t want that to happed to this bridge. 

The Hess family has been very active over the years with kayaks and canoers who typically get out of the river at their location.  They have concerns that the proposed project will make it difficult for people to put in or get out at their home.  They are also concerned about how much of their property will be needed for the bridge project and if the three pine trees will be removed. 

Rod said, “The county and the city has finally realized what an asset the river really is.  I just want to keep the property for my next generation to enjoy.” 

Commissioners Overmyer answered a few questions.  He said the 11th Road Bridge project will receive federal funds so the county pays 20% and the feds pay 80%.  Overmyer said they haven’t seen any estimated cost for this bridge project yet. He then talked about the bridge inspections the county hires done by a specialist every 2 to 4 years depending on the type of bridge.  They create a priority list for the county and then the county decided as funding becomes available. 

Hess also asked about the speed limit and Overmyer said unless posted the county speed limit is 55 mph.   

Overmyer told Mr. Hess that INDOT typically receives the bids for the project since it is federally funded.  He said, “Years ago we use to be able to select the contractor but that has been taken out of our hands now.” 

It is anticipated that the bid letting for this bridge project will be in 2023 with construction to be in 2024. 

Commissioner Overmyer said he would be glad to sit down with Mr. & Mrs. Hess and maybe someone from USI to help explain the project.