AUBURN, IND. (WPTA21)-They’re not as charming as their older cousin, the wooden covered bridge. But since the late 18th century the steel truss bridge played just as important a role in the story of this country. Massive iron girders held fast with cast iron rivets the truss bridge ferried horse and buggy, locomotive and the modern automobile across valley and stream. And of course, most of them today are long gone.
In a farm field just south of Auburn a once grand steel bridge has been lying in wait for its next century of service. For ninety years this bridge spanned the old B&O tracks on Dekalb County Road 75 outside Spencerville knitting farm fields, neighbors and towns into a local community. It was dismantled about seven years ago and stacked in this field hopefully for some future use. That day has finally come.
“They’ve been looking for a home for this for a number of years,” says Auburn contractor Mike Ley.
Mike Ley has a plan to reuse the span. He’d like to see it restored and placed over Cedar Creek in Auburn, connecting downtown Auburn with the Dekalb County Fairgrounds. Right now walking from downtown to the remote fairgrounds is nearly impossible.
“You’re sitting in this awesome scenic secluded setting which is a great thing but you’re also sitting in this awesome scenic secluded setting which is your drawback,” says Ley. “So you’re separated from downtown.”
Once in place the old bridge would connect two very busy parts of town, draw even more tourists to Auburn and dramatically enhance the local quality of life. It’s already been dubbed ‘The Community Bridge’.
“I see it built by the community,” says Ley. “I see it being built by local engineers local contractors local carpenters local asphalt companies..local steel fabricators. Local, local, local.”
Price tag for the project hasn’t been determined but Ley says it will be paid for through local donations, benefactors and foundations. Once funded the bridge could be complete in two to three years bringing a 21 country town a little closer together..bridging its past with its very bright future.