Historic Vera Cruz Bridge to be sold and relocated for kayak launch

The historic Vera Cruz Bridge, a 136-year-old metal truss bridge that spans the Wabash River in Wells County, Indiana, is set to be sold and relocated to make way for a new kayak launch. The bridge, which was built in 1887 by the Indiana Bridge Company of Muncie, has been abandoned since 1992 when a new concrete bridge was constructed next to it.

A rare and significant bridge

The Vera Cruz Bridge is one of the few remaining examples of a double-intersection Pratt (Whipple) truss, a type of bridge design that was popular in the late 19th century. The bridge consists of 12 panels separated by vertical beams made of reinforced I-beams and diagonal bars made of die-forged eye-bars. The bridge also features decorative lattice portals and rounded portal bracing.

The bridge is considered to be historically and architecturally significant by the Historic Bridge Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates for the preservation of historic bridges. According to the foundation, the bridge is “an impressive example of work by a noteworthy in-state bridge builder” and “retains good historic integrity and is important in the context of Indiana’s heritage, as well as the nationwide rarity of Whipple truss bridges.”

A new opportunity for recreation

The Wells County Commissioners have decided to sell the bridge to a private buyer who plans to relocate it to another site in the county. The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, intends to use the bridge as part of a recreational development that will include a kayak launch, a fishing pier, and a picnic area.

Historic Vera Cruz Bridge

The commissioners have agreed to sell the bridge for $1, plus the cost of removing and transporting it. The buyer will also be responsible for obtaining the necessary permits and approvals from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Department of Transportation.

The commissioners hope that the sale and relocation of the bridge will benefit the county by creating a new opportunity for outdoor recreation and tourism, as well as preserving a historic landmark. The commissioners also plan to use the vacant space left by the bridge to construct a new kayak launch that will be accessible to the public.

A win-win situation for all

The sale and relocation of the Vera Cruz Bridge is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, according to the commissioners. The project will require the coordination of several parties, including the buyer, the county, the state agencies, and the contractors.

The Historic Bridge Foundation has expressed its support for the project, stating that it is “a win-win situation for all involved.” The foundation believes that the project will “ensure the long-term preservation of the bridge in a new location where it can be appreciated and enjoyed by future generations.”

The foundation also encourages the public to visit the bridge before it is moved, and to learn more about its history and significance. The bridge is located on the abandoned IN-301 alignment over the Wabash River, near the town of Vera Cruz in Wells County, Indiana.

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