TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – The I-65 northbound bridge over the Wildcat Creek is not the only bridge in Tippecanoe County that been rated as structurally deficient or obsolete.
According to INDOT, there are 21 bridges with that rating in Tippecanoe County, which has 326 bridges overall. That’s a little over 6 percent.
INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield WISH-TV’s sister station WLFI that 14 of those 21 bridges are the county’s responsibility. The state is responsible for the other seven.
Of the seven, he said three stick out in particular, including the Wildcat Creek northbound I-65 bridge which has an average daily traffic count of 17,000 vehicles, including 6,400 trucks. The bridge has been inspected six times since 2007, with the most recent inspection in May. In each inspection, the substructure has been rated as a “4” on a 0-9 scale which translates to Poor Condition.” Since 2009, the ratings have been identical, a “6” or “Satisfactory Condition” for the bridge deck and a “5” or “Fair Condition” for the superstructure.
But INDOT spokeswoman Debbie Calder said that “4” doesn’t meant the bridge was unsafe for those 17,000 daily drivers above.
“If our bridge engineers found anything that they felt would be unsafe at all, they would have shut the bridge down in May,” said Calder.
The others are the Sagamore Parkway Bridge over River Road which has a “4” or Poor rating for superstructure, substructure and bridge deck and the State Road 26 bridge over the south fork of the Wildcat Creek, which has a “5” for the deck, a “4” for the superstructure and a “3” for the substructure.
For drivers, the good news for each of the three bridges is that they are all about to get rebuilt.
Wingfield says the Sagamore Parkway bridge will go out for bid in October and the SR 26 bridge is scheduled for 2017.
As for the other four state-maintained bridges which are considered structurally deficient, Wingfield says it’s because each rates a “4” for the bridge deck, so it may be a rough ride for drivers, it is not a major safety concern.
Pictures taken by the inspector in May of the substructure of the I-65 Wildcat Creek northbound bridge show some rust at different spots in the back wall as well as erosion in one of the spans.
As for the southbound bridge which remains open, it’s substructure was also rated as a “5” or “Fair Condition.”