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Repairs On Historic Paoli Bridge Delayed
Updated December 15, 2016 8:02 AM
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(PAOLI) - Nearly one year after a historic Paoli bridge collapsed under the weight of a semi, repairs have yet to begin.

Orange County officials say construction on the historic iron bridge that crosses Lick Creek in downtown Paoli is delayed so contractors can finalize plans to pick up the bridge and set it off its foundation so they can begin work.

Mary Lambright says when she crossed the iron bridge on December 25, 2015, she didn't realize her semi was too tall and too heavy to cross. The bridge collapsed when tractor-trailer load with more than 30 tons crossed the bridge. Police say Lambright couldn't comprehend how much six tons was - the weight limit posted on the bridge.

In October, the Orange County commissioners signed a contract with CLR Inc. to make the estimated $748,875 in repairs. Construction was slated to begin 30 days after the signing. The company has 270 days to complete the job, which means the bridge should be finished by August.

The trucking company's insurance carrier, Progressive, will pay for the repairs. The insurance company will not pay the cost of repainting portions of the bridge. That cost, estimated at $39,975 and will be paid by the county.

Lambright was charged with reckless operation of a tractor-trailer, and was cited for disregarding a traffic control device, the signage on the bridge and traveling with an overweight load on a posted bridge. Lambright could face fines and 180 days in jail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for January 24.

According to police, Lambright was traveling on U.S. 150 East and was attempting to make a delivery at Walmart when she failed to turn north onto State Road 37. In an attempt to head north toward the store she turned north on South Gospel Street and then attempted to turn west onto Oak Street, but was unable to.

Lambright told police that she knew there was a parking lot north of South Gospel Street and thought she could turn the truck around in the lot and again make her way back to State Road 37. But there was equipment parked in the lot and she couldn't get turned around.

Lambright says she was uncomfortable backing up the semi and didn't think to call police or another driver for assistance so she attempted to cross the iron bridge.

Police say that Lambright was traveling more than 30 miles per hour in order to get the vehicle stuck that far on the bridge. Once she started onto the bridge, the trailer got stuck, ripping about a third of the trailer top off. Then the weight of the vehicle made the bridge begin to collapse, pushing both sides of the bridge inward.



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