Sinkhole forces Griffith to close bridge over Cady Marsh Ditch
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent June 5, 2014 5:44PM
Arbogast Avenue over the Gady Marsh Ditch was closed Wednesday, June 4, 2014, due to the condition of the bridge. | Joe Puchek~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2014 6:03AM
GRIFFITH — Arbogast Bridge is coming down, and sooner rather than later.
The bridge at Brinwood Street and Arbogast Avenue has been shut down to motor traffic and pedestrians since May 12 because a 30-inch sinkhole appeared, Public Works Director Rick Konopasek said. Workers filled the hole May 9, but it reopened up quickly.
Konopasek called in South Bend-based engineers Lawson-Fisher & Associates, which helped the town with its Deep Tunnel/Cady Ditch project, and they discovered the increased water flow from that project being opened in 2007 has deteriorated the timber supports underneath the bridge.
“The bridge was built in the mid-1960s, and the supports are similar to railroad ties, only heavier,” Konopasek said. “The velocity of the water has worn them down, and we’re now in the process of getting the bridge declared an emergency.”
The town is soliciting proposals for the project, which it hopes to complete by November. The biggest issues to that happening, however, are receiving the proper permitting from the Army Corps of Engineers, which worked on Deep Tunnel, as well as the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Lake County Surveyor’s Office.
But if all goes as planned, the bridge will be demolished by the end of June, and then contractors will start work on a design-build project expected to cost somewhere between $400,000 and $500,000.
Town Council President Rick Ryfa said in a statement that the town believes mistakes may have been made in Deep Tunnel’s design phase and that “the effects of increased water flow at the base of the bridge were not properly taken into consideration.”
“We are aware of the safety and inconvenience issues of the closed bridge,” Ryfa said. “The town is working towards identifying the responsible parties while we concurrently proceed with getting the bridge demolished, replaced and open for traffic as soon as possible.”