The Harmony Way Bridge is now on the Illinois Department of Transportation bulletin for future work to begin.

Item number 64 White County In-Depth Inspection and Structural Evaluation of the New Harmony Bridge is now up for 31 eligible firms to bid on to begin an inspection. The last inspection of the bridge was done in 2017, since the inspection is not up to date the Illinois Authority chose to start a more in-depth inspection. IDOT is not going to be in control of the project, the selection is entirely up to both the Indiana and Illinois Authorities. 

“This study is broader than Indiana. It will include diving on all piers, load for the entire length of the bridge, critical fracture study and includes use of new equipments that can study without destroying the steel by testing the strength,” Ellen Schanzle-Haskins explained. 

There are two phases of the study: in-depth inspection of the structure and the highway over the Wabash River. Structural evaluation of the structure based on findings of the inspection, placement concepts and recommendations.

At the meeting, held on November 21 at the Working Man’s Institute in New Harmony, the authorities went into detail about the timeline of events happening for the study. All of the 31 firms are either in Illinois or Indiana or both, with some of them specifically working with bridges. With the bulletin now online, firms will need to issue their statement of interest until December 5. The statement of interest includes: a brief statement of interest in conducting the study, graphs and photos of previous bridge works, resumes, expertise and specialties that the firm performs, estimated time of completion, experience in similar projects and design and rehabilitation of truss bridges. More than one firm is allowed to work together on the project as well. Between December 5 and January 2020, IDOT Consultant Services Unit will determine the eligibility of each firm that responds to the statement of interest and assist with preliminary review and ranking of the consultants. In January, the Illinois and Indiana Authorities will put together a committee to vote on which firm will be the right fit for the bridge. The selection committee will first do a voice vote on their top three candidates then they will do a secret ballot vote and the first consultant picked will be contacted.

“If we can get the study done by the Spring/Summer of 2020, then we can be ready to go to contract for construction and rehabilitation in 2021,” stated Schanzle-Haskins. All five members on the Illinois side are willing to be on the selection committee, with each member voicing their concern that members of the Indiana Authority also be on the selection committee.

Lora Arneberg from the Indiana Authority went over the different layouts that the bridge could be used for, with using the idea of Bourbon Street in Louisiana. “they open the bridge for traffic during the day and then at night they would close it down to pedestrian.” Some of the board members liked that idea with Linda Henning saying, “We need a shared vision with what will benefit the citizens and businesses from the safety on both sides. I feel like it’s important to have shared goals.”

The Illinois and Indiana authorities formed a sub committee to discuss the possibilities of the ownerships and operations for the Harmony Way Bridge. Ellen Schanzle-Haskins and Ron Elmer will be gathering information to help speed up the process of how the bridge should be operated and who will have the overall ownership of the bridge.