The Herald Bulletin
It would be nice if the county can get its hands on the $15 million federal grant to replace the Eisenhower Bridge on Eighth Street. This iconic bridge and entryway into the city from the Park Place and Anderson University area is overdue for an update.
Built in 1969, the Vietnam War was raging, Woodstock was happening, Charles Manson was killing, man was walking on the moon and, on March 28, the nation’s 34th president, Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, died at the age of 78. His death was likely the reason the bridge was named after him.
In those days a railroad track ran near the river, and that was the reason the bridge ended up with a high arch that could be a little nerve-racking on an icy day. The engineers tried to prevent that by putting heating coils in the concrete but all that succeeded in doing was damaging the concrete.
A new bridge would be constructed straight across the river and would last a long time.
Madison County engineer Chuck Leser said it would be $18 million to repair the bridge and that would only be good for 20 years. Going with a new bridge, which would include a $4 million contribution from the county, would be more cost effective.
A few years ago, in Muncie, a new bridge was built where High Street crosses the White River. It’s a major artery carrying traffic between downtown and the Ball State area. The old bridge was more ornamental, but the new one is much better and will last longer.
It would be nice if the same thing happened in Anderson. But there are a lot of hurdles to clear before the feds turn over some of the $474 million available in the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program. It’s definitely worth the effort to go after it.
As an aside, would it be time to rename a new bridge? Or do Madison County residents want to stick with honoring Eisenhower? If it’s time for a change, the county could have some fun with this and have a name-changing contest.
Either way, a new bridge would serve the county well for many years to come.