Cedar Grove Bridge (Formerly IN 1)

The Cedar Grove Bridge, formerly carrying IN 1, crossed the Whitewater River in Cedar Grove, Indiana. The historic span was demolished by explosives on February 17, 2016.

The two-span, riveted Camelback through truss was constructed in 1914 by the Indiana Bridge Company of Muncie at a cost of $18,975.4 It replaced an earlier span that was destroyed in a flood the year prior.1 The 386-foot long bridge was divided into two spans each 182 feet in length, with a single pier consisting of two concrete of rubble filled steel caissons ringed with sheet piling.2

In 1978, IN 1 was rerouted onto a new alignment that bypassed Cedar Grove Bridge and an alignment that hugged the Whitewater River, which was the source of frequent roadway slips and repairs.

The Cedar Grove Bridge closed to all traffic due to structural deterioration in 1999.1 4 INDOT offered the bridge to Franklin County but it was not interested in assuming future responsibility for the bridge.


On June 16, 2011,5 INDOT submitted an application to the Division of Historical Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA), proposing to demolish the Cedar Grove Bridge via a controlled demolition.4 Because of its eligibility to be listed on two national historic registers, DHPA must review and approve of the demolition request. Because of a lack of notice regarding the application, an impromptu meeting was held between Indiana Landmarks, INDOT and Franklin County Citizens for Historic Preservation, along with other residents.

On August 26, 2011, James Barker of J.A. Barker Engineering inspected the truss span on behalf of Indiana Landmarks.2 He found that the bridge railing was inadequate, the decking in poor condition, portal bracing damaged by truck impact, the lower chord rusting near the bearing seats, a rusted lower lateral bracing and rusted floor beams.

Barker suggested three alternatives for the work:2

  • Alternative 1: Assuming “sweat equity” by local citizens, the donation of services, or reduced-cost services along with fundraising with no assistance from the county or INDOT. This alternative would involve the most-needed repairs, such as repairing bridge railing and augmenting it with wooden or steel rails for pedestrians, removing the lower lateral bracing, repairing the bridge deck, not repairing the floor beams or wing walls and using the Thermarust system to coat the bearing seat areas and the lower chord.
  • Alternative 2: Assuming some funding from INDOT and the transfer of ownership to a local entity. This alternative would involve repairing bridge railing and augmenting it with tubular steel, repairing the portal knee braces, replacing the lower lateral bracing, removing the top layer of boards on the deck due to the new lower lateral bracing, and not repairing the floor beams or wing walls. It also involves using the Thermarust system to coat the bearing seat areas and the lower chord.
  • Alternative 3: A complete rehabilitation project with park amenities, assuming INDOT transfers ownership to a local entity and that the entity obtains federal aid funding – typically 20% local, 80% federal. This alternative would involve repairing bridge railing and augmenting it with tubular steel, replacing the bridge deck, strengthening or replacing the floor beams, repairing the portal knee braces, replacing the lower lateral bracing, replacing the lower lateral bracing, repairing the northern wing wall and painting the entire bridge.

According to engineer James Barker who inspected the bridge shortly after the group began meeting, the span is in acceptable to good condition for pedestrian use, and that rehabilitating the span would cost approximately $600,000 for a new wooden bridge deck, cleaning and repainting.1

On February 2, 2012, INDOT resubmitted the application for demolition to DHPA.5 The agency said that while the bridge was eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C, the bridge was not in vehicular use and was not evaluated for Select or Non-Select status. The DHPA staff did agree that the bridge was historic. But because the proposed demolition was 100% state funded, INDOT was not seeking a federal Section 106 review.

In October, INDOT offered Franklin County a deal.3 The state would pay the county $1.5 million over three years, with the first payment of $500,000 remitted in April 2013. In exchange, the county would assume maintenance of old IN 1. The money would be used to replace Duck Creek Bridge No. 10 and to maintain old IN 1. Unfortunately, the town of Cedar Grove did not show interest in owning the Cedar Grove Bridge, however, the Whitewater Canal Trail (WCT) has expressed interest in owning the crossing as part of a hiking and cycling trail.3 In return, the county asked that the WCT be able to post a 50-year bond for bridge maintenance and demonstrate proof of insurance.

The demolition of the bridge would cost $195,000, however the county said that demolition costs would only be about $100,000 if the piers were left in place.3 If a plan is not worked out, bids for demolition would be announced in December 2013.1

On February 17, 2016, the Cedar Grove Bridge was imploded.6

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