Semi shuts down Montgomery railroad bridge

Jan. 4—MONTGOMERY — A semi damaged the bridge over the railroad tracks in Montgomery Tuesday. Daviess County officials say the semi did enough damage to shut down the bridge for several hours.

"The wooden sidewalk on there, it probably took out about 24 feet of it. That is at least the fourth time we have had a semi turn onto that bridge and take out that wooden sidewalk," said Daviess County Highway Supervisor Chris Winkler. "The last time someone took out the sidewalk, when it was fixed, we put a line of cones along the wooden sidewalk and screwed them into the sidewalk so that traffic knows not to get over there outside of the road lane."

Authorities say they are still trying to find who might have done the damage.

"The vehicle was a semi and it did leave the scene," said Daviess County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Steve Sturgis. "I think we are trying to review some video footage from the school and see if it was on there so we could identify the vehicle. We can tell it is a big semi with some symbols on the side. We are trying to find who it was."

Officials point out that the semi was involved in multiple violations by pulling up on the bridge.

"The problem is that semis trying to turn off of Railroad Street cannot make that turn without getting onto the sidewalk," said Winkler. "Semis are not supposed to be on there anyway. There is a 12-ton load limit. So, they disregard the load limit, try to make that turn and get their tires out on the wooden walk-way and it falls through. Every time we talk to the drivers, they say their GPS took them that way."

Officials say they have signs leading to the bridge warning that it is load limited and for the semis to stay off of it, but those do not stop the trucks from trying.

The bridge is scheduled to be replaced later this spring. Winkler says the repeated problems with the bridge show the need for the $4 million project.

"I don't think the general public understands the problems we have with this bridge. This is one of the reasons why we want to get this bridge replaced. Eventually, someone is going to wind up driving off of that bridge because they are trying to turn a corner that they can't make," he said. "They are planning on starting work on March 6. It is going to get done and they are supposed to be finished by the end of the year."

The bridge has been repaired and it once again is open to traffic.