New Harmony, Ind. & Carmi, Illinois – The Indiana New Harmony and Wabash River Bridge Authority and the Illinois New Harmony River Bridge Authority wish to jointly announce that on Monday, June 29 we will be one step closer to the answer to the above question. Whether the New Harmony Bridge can be safely reopened will be answered by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE) of Northbrook, Illinois and Indianapolis, Indiana. WJE is the engineering firm selected by the Illinois New Harmony River Bridge Authority and the Indiana New Harmony and Wabash River Authority to conduct an in-depth study of the historic bridge to determine the structural integrity, safety, design, and construction options for the rehabilitation and potential reopening of the bridge.
In November of 2019, with assistance from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), a request for proposal (RFQ) for a quality-based structural inspection was published on IDOT’s Professional Transportation Bulletin #194-64. Six pre-qualified structural engineering firms from the Illinois and Indiana areas submitted proposals. A selection committee comprised of members from the Illinois and Indiana Bridge Authorities reviewed the proposed statements of interest, and through an intensive vetting and voting process, awarded the project to WJE.
The objective of this first phase is an inspection and evaluation to determine if the bridge is structurally sound and can be refurbished and, if so, a second phase of evaluation will be conducted by WJE in August to include a more extensive evaluation of bridge sections that are in need of repair or replacement, and to explore design options and construction costs.
To date, preliminary studies, including load ratings, have been accomplished in-house in the Northbrook offices of WJE. On June 29, 30, and July 1, WJE will conduct the remainder of the phase one study with preliminary on-site “arms-length” inspection of the bridge which will involve a crew of engineers and technicians to:
· Climb the trusses to evaluate primary truss members
· Inspect the Illinois and Indiana approach spans from beneath the bridge using a boom lift
· Inspect the concrete piers, steel bents, and other structural members from below the bridge
· Perform drone operations to take pictures of various areas of the bridge and the bridge deck
Residents, media, and other interested parties are asked to be respectful of the engineers’ and the public’s safety by refraining from engaging with the inspectors while they conduct their work on the bridge.