Progress being made on repairing historic Paoli, Ind., bridge - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Progress being made on repairing historic Paoli, Ind., bridge

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The floor of the bridge has been removed. Soon, the bridge will be hoisted onto land, where it will be rebuilt. The floor of the bridge has been removed. Soon, the bridge will be hoisted onto land, where it will be rebuilt.
The floor of the bridge has been removed to make the bridge lighter and easier to eventually hoist onto land, where it will be rebuilt. The floor of the bridge has been removed to make the bridge lighter and easier to eventually hoist onto land, where it will be rebuilt.

PAOLI, Ind. (WDRB) -- It has been more than a year since a semi truck driver drove over an historic bridge in Paoli, Ind., crushing it. Repair crews have only been there working for about three weeks now, but have made a lot of progress already.

The historic bridge over Lick Creek was crumpled when a driver tried to cross it on Christmas Day last year. "Just like everybody else, it was like wow, can't believe somebody would drive over a bridge like that with a big semi," said Mike Mohler, a Paoli resident.

Officials say the driver, Mary Lambright, was carrying six times the posted limit. For over a year it has been shut down, inconveniencing drivers who have to detour. "Everybody depends on that bridge, it's the shortcut from 37," Mohler said.

Residents are glad to finally see progress. "First they took off the floor deck, now they're taking off the structural members," said Andy Mahler, a Paoli resident who has kept a close eye on the project.

The floor that once carried traffic has been taken apart. "If they get it done in 2017, we'll be very happy to see this historical piece of our culture and our heritage restored to a function of utility right in the heart of our town," said Mahler.

The historic bridge will be rebuilt. The project manager says the goal is to get most of the heavy pieces out of the way before the big part comes. Crews will move the bridge to land to rebuild it. "That's going to be interesting to see, I think it's going to be interesting for everybody to see them do that," said Mohler.

The project manager says it should be finished by late July if not sooner. It should cost around $700,000, and the trucking company's insurance is expected to take up the full tab.

The construction manager says the most exciting part is expected to happen in the middle of next week. A crane will hoist the bridge onto land, where crews will begin fixing and reassembling it before putting it back over the water.

The driver has a trial scheduled for March. She faces fines and jail time on a charge related to the wreck.

Related Stories:

Driver who caused Paoli bridge collapse loses job, publicly apologizes

Truck wedges itself in Paoli bridge, causing it to collapse

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