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Historic Bostick Road Bridge dismantled

After 116 years, the Bostick Road Bridge no longer spans the St. Marys River in southeastern Allen County. Soon it will be in pieces – many of them eaten by rust – and hauled away.

All so it can be restored.

At a cost of about $1.1 million, the narrow 176-foot bridge is being disassembled so its parts can more easily be replaced or repaired. The project began this month when a crane lifted the span from its stone supports and moved it to the river's western bank, where workers with Camden Construction Co. of Pierceton have been using wrenches, torches, lifts and other equipment to separate the often-fragile parts. The pieces will be taken to Pierceton for restoration, then reassembled at the bridge's original location in late summer or fall.

Because of its poor condition, the bridge was closed to traffic in 2004. But because the bridge is considered historic, county officials were not allowed to replace it with a new structure. A new bridge will be built on a realigned section of road – at a cost of about $1.8 million – but the restored original bridge will be incorporated into a still-to-come network of trails.

The bridge was built by the Canton (Ohio) Bridge Co., and its design is unique among remaining steel bridges in Indiana, according to historic preservation group ARCH. General contractor on the project is Beaty Construction of Boggstown.