Travelers on County Road 50 East near 500 South in Starke County are strongly advised to find a new route, as County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler announced yesterday that the county has closed Bridge 70 due to safety reasons. Ritzler explained the bridge was scheduled to be replaced next year but because of the unexpectedly high rate of deterioration, he said it was necessary to close the bridge to prevent an accident.
“It originally was scheduled to be replaced in 2014. We had been monitoring the situation; we closed it to one lane last fall and the recent rains have made the bridge deteriorate – some of the mud walls and the pavement deteriorated more quickly than we anticipated. So we thought it was for safety reasons to close the bridge until we can repair or replace it,” said Ritzler.
Ritzler said that even though the bridge has been closed, the county is unable to expedite the project due to funding reasons. However, he said the county is looking at temporary alternatives, such as replacing the bridge with a type of culvert.
While there is no detour in place, Ritzler said travelers can take County Road 50 East to State Road 10 and avoid the closed bridge until it is repaired or replaced.