Sunday, July 3, 2011
Jackson Covered Bridge damaged
Parke County's 1861 Jackson Covered Bridge was damaged on Monday, June 27 by a careless truck driver that attempted to cross it with a 23 ton semi. The driver entered the bridge and proceeded to break no less than 7 of the upper lateral bracing cross members before a falling beam severed a hose between his cab and trailer, and mercifully halted his progress. The 207 ft long Burr Arch bridge is the longest single span covered bridge still serving traffic in the U.S., and was restored in 2007 at a cost of about 2 million dollars. Fortunately, this restoration that brought the signed load limit up from 3 to 13 tons may have saved the venerable landmark from collapsing. The truck sat entirely on the bridge for upwards of 4 hours before it could be extracted. The bridge is currently closed pending an engineering inspection and repairs. Hopefully the driver will be held responsible and insurance will be available to cover the cost of fixing the damage.