Armstrong Station Road Truss Bridge Could Be Closed For Some Time

(BEDFORD) – Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes told the commissioners Tuesday morning he is not sure when the historical truss bridge on Armstrong Station Road, off State Road 58, will reopen.

Bridge 107 was closed today at 1:00 p.m. Crews will be securing guard rails across the bridge to prevent motorists from using it.

Highway Superintendent David Holmes

Holmes says on Monday the Highway Department was informed by bridge inspectors they had 48 hours to comply with the closure notice.

Inspectors found severe deterioration on the Fayetteville side to the steel underneath the 92-foot bridge.

“This is a historical select bridge which means any major work or replacement has to be approved by the State Historical Association,” Holmes added. “We have met with an engineering firm on-site and are exploring options on how they can get the bridge reopened.”

“We know this is an inconvenience and we apologize,” he added. “There is nothing we can do; it is a state mandate and out of our control. We are asking residents be patient as we work on the solution. I know there is no easy solution for residents in that area and they will have to travel either through Fayetteville or Indian Creek to get home.”

Holmes is meeting with bridge inspectors this week to see if they can come up with a solution to reopen the bridge temporarily until a permanent solution can be found to repair or replace the bridge.

“We will be limited on what we can do. I want to be perfectly clear, this will not be a quick fix,” said Holmes.”It is unfortunate and I hate it.”

In other business:

Rex Knight

Rex Knight, Southern Indiana Development Commission Project Coordinator, held a public meeting after the awarding of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) 2020 COVID-19 response program grant aimed to support economic development Lawrence County.

Brian Skillman

A five-member panel, including and chaired by Lawrence County Human Resources Director Brian Skillman, reviewed applications from local small businesses.

“The OCRA grant process has been completed,” said Skillman. “These funds will help retain employees and pay other costs incurred during the pandemic. The full $250,000 grant was distributed to county businesses with some receiving a max of $15,000.”

The panel included:

  • Shance Sizemore, Lawrence County Economic Growth Council
  • Debra Emmons, E & H Bridge
  • Matt Parker, Parker Group
  • Michael Hounshel, Relco Systems

Below is a list of businesses receiving grants:

Business NameFirst NameLast NameTitleTotal Amount Eligible For
DNA Designs LLC.ChrisAtchisonOwner$15,000.00
The Cut HutDeborahKlineOwner$5,000.00
Daugherty Heating and CoolingRobertDaughertyOwner$10,000.00
Hope’s OrganicsEstebanFloresOwner$5,000.00
Kar Kwik Muffler Brakes & More IncMcColley YoungPresident$5,000.00
Vercii Rose StudioVercii ReedOwner/Artist $5,000.00
Acorn Valley FramesEugeneAbelOwner$5,000.00
Jay Ambe LLC dba Rosemount MotelJayeshPatelOwner$5,000.00
L&B dinerlottiehurtOwner$5,000.00
Pappa’s, Inc.ErnieCoffmanPresident$15,000.00
Kindred SpiritsThomasLewisOwner$15,000.00
Thorne’s Homes, Inc.AmberThorneOffice Manager$15,000.00
Atrium Dental CenterNickWeissDentist/Owner$15,000.00
Health Care CenterKarl BuchOwner$15,000.00
J NailsQuynhNguyenManager/owner$15,000.00
Om Ma Om Inc  dba Super 8Suresh PatelPresident$15,000.00
Salt Creek Brewery Inc.BradHawkinsPresident$15,000.00
Cedar Hill CateringBelindaHicksOwner$15,000.00
Healthy Balance Health ClubMarceyPhillipsowner$10,000.00
Dongraji Corporation dba Mark III MotelJagdishkumarPatelPresident/Owner$10,000.00
Celebrations Play Center Natasha JohnsOwner$5,000.00
Gillespie’s 1st Place Trophies, LLCJoseph ScottGillespieOwner$5,000.00
Red Gate FArms, Inc., DBA Carousel WineryCynthiaWilsonPres,/Sect$5,000.00
Holts Cafe InckimberlyWrightowner$5,000.00
BlueEyes and BareFeet, LLCStephanieWilliamsOwner$5,000.00
Rodney Fish

“This is a very positive thing,” said Commissioner Rodney Fish. “The public appreciates the work you have done and Brian for spearheading this.”

Highway Superintendent Davie Holmes reported highway crews have completed 6 miles of chipping and sealing in District 3. Crews continue cutting brush.

Bid submissions for the sign placement in District 1 will begin September 12th.

A speed limit study is being done on Bridge 150 on Mill Creek Road. This is part of the historical requirements to get federal funding for the bridge.

The commissioners approved Arron Reid’s request from Toshiba OneIndiana to complete a free assessment of the counties contracts on office equipment to see if they can lower costs.

OneIndiana has four key goals:

  1. Identify and improve the ways Indiana government buys goods and services through statewide collaboration among agencies.
  2. Identify and create savings for taxpayers by lowering prices and achieving better value on commonly purchased goods and services through effectively leveraging the state’s purchasing volume.
  3. Evaluate specifications of goods and services being bought to ensure the optimal use of state dollars.
  4. Transfer knowledge to state procurement professionals in procurement best practices.

Reid said his firm has saved Owen County more than $68,000 over a five year period. North Lawrence Community Schools also uses their service.

The commissioners also approved a request by Amanda Scudder to host a Save Our Children Rally on the courthouse lawn on September 20th. Organizers will set up from Noon until 2 p.m. with the event running from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

There will be games and other family-fun activities, a snack station, photo booth and sanitation station, and 200 identification kits will be given away.

Scudder said these statistics:

  • Every 10 seconds a child is abused
  • Four children die from abuse every day
  • One out of every four girls will be sexually abused
  • One out of six boys will be sexually abused
  • One out of five children will be solicited over the internet
Sheriff Mike Branham

Sheriff Mike Branham reported there were 154 inmates in the jail this morning. Of those 120 are males, 133 are females, three Level 6 felons, seven Department of Correction holds, and two parole holds.

“The July average population was 128. For August it was 149; a significant jump,” said Sheriff Branham. “Hopefully we don’t see the same just in September.”

Sheriff Branham reported the railing was being painted outside of the jail this morning. Work will also be done on the landscape near the lower level.

The light project outside the jail is nearly complete.

“They still need to pour some concrete around the lights,” Sheriff Branham said. “It has made a huge difference at night.”

Sheriff Branham told the commissioners that the control board for the jail doors is showing its age and continues to break down and will eventually will need to be replaced. Sheriff Branham estimated the cost to replace the board around a half a million dollars.

Valerie Luchauer

Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer reported she will be conducting a hazardous material exercise in Oolitic on September 11-12.