Commissioners discuss county bridges

Jan. 24—GREENSBURG — Water was a topic of discussion at a recent meeting of the Decatur County Commissioners.

That discussion included bridges in the county, some local drainage issues, and a leak at the Decatur County Courthouse.

Commissioners Mark Koors, Jeremy Pasel and Chuck Emsweller were on hand as Decatur County Highway Superintendent Todd Houk reported on finding the funding to address those issues.

Koors and Pasel were present at the meeting while Emsweller appeared via ZOOM.

Houk has already submitted the Community Crossings Grant to the Indiana Department of Transportation, the funding source that has helped maintain and repair county roads the past two years.

Launched in 2016, the Community Crossings Matching Grant Program provides funding to cities, towns, and counties across Indiana to make improvements to local roads and bridges. Community Crossings is a partnership between INDOT and Hoosier communities in local projects that strengthen infrastructure, create jobs, and strengthen local transportation networks.

Since 2016, the state has awarded $1.148 billion dollars to support local road and bridge projects throughout the state, and through the work of retired Highway Superintendent Mark Mohr, Community Crossings funding has bolstered local infrastructure since 2016.

To specifically address bridge maintenance and repair, the state issued a "call for projects" earlier this month with applications due by January 31.

It was reported that the work involved with identifying good candidates for the program has been underway and that 12 projects for fiscal year 2028 have been pre-selected to facilitate work starting when that funding becomes available.

To assist in writing those applications, $14,400 was requested. Because of the nature of the matching grants involved, the county would be responsible for 20 percent of the cost for each.

Houk said the county's total share will be "right at about $900,000."

Four of the selected bridges are within Honda's jurisdiction and Houk is working with the vehicle manufacturer to secure funding for their repair.

With Honda taking responsibility for those four, the cost to the county for the others would drop to roughly $640,000.

"I'm still trying to navigate through all that. It's quite complicated," Houk said. "I've got everything entered, what number and their location, but I need United Consulting assistance to finish the applications."

The commissioners voted to provide the $14,400 needed for United Consulting to continue.

"We've been working with United Consulting for years and we trust their expertise," Commissioner Koors said.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-651-0876 or email