Highway Superintendent Al Hoagland said the reason he failed to obtain the
proper permits prior to beginning work on the new replacement bridge over
Coffee Creek on CR 1100 N was because he overlooked the matter while rushing
to complete the project before the first day of school.
wished to have the new bridge safely in place by Aug. 22, when Duneland
school buses would be traveling regularly over the bridge. The current
bridge has not seen major repair work in the past 30 years, is “structurally
deficient” and is rated the county’s second poorest, said Hoagland.
Tribune received an e-mail Monday from the Indiana Department of
Environmental Management which said that in a recent investigation the
agency determined that the county highway department needed to obtain
Section 401 Water Quality Certification and a Section 404 Dredge and Fill
permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to the bridge work.
officer from the Department of Natural Resources said the Highway
Department’s activities were in violation of water pollution control
For his part,
Hoagland said he takes the blame because he should have checked on proper
permits with the agencies. “I just kind of missed the boat,” he said.
the permits were not obtained was that the 1100N bridge is considered urban
and requires different provisions than rural bridges, which is what the
county highway department is accustomed to dealing with.
Any bridge over
20 feet in the county, regardless if it’s located on unincorporated or
incorporated land, is ultimately overseen by the highway department.
his department is now in communication with the necessary agencies and has
applied for the appropriate approvals and the new aluminum bridge is ready
to be installed, but he doubts the bridge can be finished before the start
of the school year. Once the permits are in place, Hoagland said it would
probably take a couple of weeks to install the replacement bridge.
“We want to make
sure we do it right,” he said. “The day we get the permits in our hand is
the day we will start working on it.”
the new bridge will also be wider than the old bridge.
Commissioner John Evans commended the highway department’s performance on
recent bridge projects including one on CR 100S in Porter Township and said
the county may have to close off that portion of 1100N until the bridge is
safe to cross.
have roads closed than to have one of those buses fall (into Coffee Creek),”
the Town of Chesterton for its cooperation in relocating a sanitary sewer
main fixed to the bridge earlier this summer.