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Valparaiso street, bridge need emergency repairs

Flooding amage Valparaiso includes HarrisBoulevard bridge over Beauty Creek.  | James D. Wolf Jr.~for Sun-Times Media

Flooding amage in Valparaiso includes the Harrison Boulevard bridge over Beauty Creek. | James D. Wolf Jr.~for Sun-Times Media

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VALPARAISO — Two roads on the city’s west side remain washed out after Friday’s flash floods, and one includes a bridge that will take time and money to replace, city officials said Monday night.

The areas closed are the south side of Vale Park Road, just west of Froberg Road, and the Harrison Boulevard bridge over Beauty Creek. The bridge is just west of St. Paul Catholic Church and Old Oak Drive.

City engineer Tim Burkman told the city council on Monday that city crews will start repairing the Vale Park section on Tuesday, and it should be completed by week’s end.

However, the bridge could cost $300,000 to $400,000 to replace, and officials haven’t decided where the money will come from.

Burkman said his department is considering ordering a pre-cast bridge, but building one will probably be faster. He said he will have cost estimates by the Sept. 8 council meeting but gave no start date for the project.

Porter County is in charge of most bridges that are at least 20 feet in length, but the Beauty Creek bridge is only 11 feet.

Water eroded the eastern abutment under the bridge so the side tilted in and the bridge deck shifted, Burkman said.

He said the Vale Park Road problem was west of the bridge where water undercut the pavement, making it collapse. City workers will rebuild the embankment and shore it up with larger diameter rock that will be grouted together, Burkman said.

The city also has been getting many calls about flooded basements and other flooding problems. The calls are less about sewer backups and more about foundation leaks than during the September 2008 storms, city council member Joey Larr (R-3) said. Valparaiso has spent $9.4 million on stormwater and sewer improvements since then.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the council approved spending $425,000 as Valparaiso’s share of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project that will cost $1 million to repair sewer lines, mostly in the north area of the city.



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