(Michigan City, IN) - Talk of replacing the Franklin Street drawbridge in Michigan City seems to be getting more serious.
On Wednesday night, the La Porte County Commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter to Representative Frank Mrvan asking Mrvan to secure $6 to $8 million in federal infrastructure funds to pay for the engineering and design of a new bridge.
“Now, the time has come to replace this asset,” the letter stated.
The decision to seek funding was in response to reports the condition of the bridge is declining more rapidly than anticipated despite millions of dollars in repairs over the past several years.
La Porte County Councilman Mark Yagelski mentioned falling concrete as one of the signs of the bridge having a narrowing life span.
“I just see the deterioration going too fast. Too quick,” he said.
Yagelski says that Mrvan requested the letter. Mrvan doesn't have any other projects in his congressional district to pursue dollars from President Joe Biden's recently passed federal infrastructure spending package.
Commissioner Joe Haney said he believes the nearly century-old bridge can keep running for another decade or more but at what cost since the need for repairs seem to be escalating. According to a 2017 study, full rehabilitation of the bridge was estimated at $45 million, while a new bridge could be as much as $80 million.
The letter also informed Mrvan that the county would need additional federal dollars to help pay for new construction.