Orange Co. officials want historic bridge repaired - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Orange Co. officials want historic bridge repaired

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PAOLI, Ind. (WDRB) -- Orange County Commissioners had a meeting Wednesday to talk about the future of a bridge that was heavily damaged on Christmas.

A truck driver tried to drive over the historic iron bridge in Paoli on Christmas Day but her truck was too tall and too heavy, which caused the bridge to collapse.

Now county officials are trying to figure out how to reopen it.

"We're waiting on their insurance company to make an offer on what they're willing to pay,” said Don Brewer, president of Orange County Commissioners.

Brewer says it will likely cost more than $1 million to fix the bridge.

"It will have to be disassembled, removed from the site, new pieces will have to be fabricated. It will have to be reassembled, then disassembled again and brought back to the site and put back up,” Brewer told WDRB.

He says the federal highway should cover whatever insurance doesn't.

Brewer says they could build a new bridge to replace the old one for about half the cost but he says many community members have said they want the bridge repaired back to its original condition.

"The bridge is on the historic register and most of the community and the county wants it put back the way it was,” he said.

Brewer says the bridge has been well maintained despite its old age.

It was built in 1880, rehabbed in 2000 and a new metal decking was put on in 2010.

Brewer says it will take most of this year to complete the project.

Commissioners say they aren't in a hurry because despite the historic bridge being closed, it's not a huge inconvenience for residents because there’s another bridge one block away.

The driver, Mary Lambright, is facing charges.

Officials say her truck was carrying thousands of bottles of water and its weight was nearly six times the posted limit.

"I don't understand how something like this could happen,” said Brewer.

Lambright is expected to be arraigned in court Jan. 25.

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