A decision this week by the Indiana Department of Historic Preservation and Archaeology gave a glimmer of hope to the abandoned Cedar Grove steel truss bridge in Franklin County. INDOT owns this span and has requested a certification from the DHPA to demolish it. The bridge has been closed since 1999 and officials are concerned about rusted beams falling on people canoeing on the Whitewater River below. The 2-span Camelback truss bridge was built in 1914 and is an impressive site as it towers over the river valley. The review board has tabled any decisions on the matter for at least 6 months.
So while this "Stay of execution" is a good thing.....now comes the daunting task of finding a group to assume ownership of the bridge from the state. There has been some talk of a Whitewater Valley Trail in the county, so extending the trail to (and through) the bridge could be one possibility. Liability issues seem to be the biggest obstacle for any takers. Although it wouldn't cost as much to prepare the bridge for pedestrian use, it would need a new floor system and a new paint job. Some lower bracing rods that have broken and are hanging down give the bridge a much worse appearance than it deserves, as it is still a very steady structure. With some repairs and lighting this bridge could be a real centerpiece for the town of Cedar Grove.