Mayor Mark Senter cut the ribbon on the Historic Footbridge Rehabilitation Project Saturday morning. In normal fashion, he started his comments by saying, “It’s another beautiful day in Plymouth, Indiana.”
The 125-year-old bridge over the Yellow River was built as the result of residents in Plymouth petitioning the Common Council in 1898 to erect a through-truss bridge for automobiles at Taylor Street, now Garro Street, and a pedestrian bridge at East LaPorte Street.
The footbridge over the Yellow River is a cantilever truss bridge, one of a kind in Indiana, and rare in the nation. It is 6 feet wide and 100 feet long, connecting the residential neighborhood to the Plymouth River Park Square and downtown Plymouth.
During the construction process, the decking, floor beams, and stringers were replaced. Rust was removed, and the bridge was cleaned and painted. New lighting, bridge approaches, and truss components were added for safety. In addition, support components and the banks of the bridge were rehabilitated to improve the longevity of the bridge.
The rehabilitation project was engineered by Jim Baker at VS Engineering. Lochmueller Group partnered with VS Engineering to handle the environmental components. LaPorte Construction completed the construction work.
Local historian and architect Kurt Garner gave his own story about Footbridge. Garner said the bridge was 100 years old when he proposed to his wife Chris in May of 1998. He said they just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary so he knows it’s 125 years old.
Garner said he used to live above the Chamber of Commerce Building and the two of them walked down Garro Street and came back around LaPorte Street. They stopped on the bridge, and he proposed to her, and she said yes. The first person they told after the surprise was Mrs. Hosel at the Rees Theater as she was working in the ticket booth.
Garner went on to say, “This is quite a unique structure in Indiana and the bridge people here will probably know the name, Jim Cooper. Jim Cooker, who just passed away a few years ago was the bridge expert in Indiana. I talked to him about this bridge, and he just thought this was the most fabulous bridge. At that time, he said, I’m sure it’s the oldest pedestrian bridge in the state.”