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Boone County residents try to save historic bridge

BOONE COUNTY, Ind. – Boone County residents are joining forces to save an historic bridge that was damaged by farm equipment.

The group is hoping to raise $100,000 to save the Creek Road Bridge, also known as Bridge 32.

On November 10, 2016, a farm vehicle drove onto the bridge and broke parts of the metal truss. Engineers examined the damage and deemed the bridge unsafe. The structure has been shut down for more than a year.

The bridge closure is impacting residents, like Bonnie Batts, who live nearby.

"The mailman won’t go down Creek Road, on the other side of the bridge, anymore," Batts said. "So neighbors over there have to go to the Thorntown Post Office to get their mail."

There are also concerns about access for emergency crews and even school transportation.

"School bus won't go down that road, so they have to take their kids to school every day," Batts said.

Due to financial restraints, the county may not be able to restore the bridge any time soon. Investigators are still trying to track down the person responsible for the damage.

So, some residents decided to take action to salvage the bridge.

"When we saw that it was threatened, we realized what a treasure we have in our own backyard and we want to move forward to save it," said Diana Freeman, who is the chairperson of the Bridge 32 preservation group.

Freeman and the other concerns residents have created a website and a Facebook page. They have also distributed signs that say "Help Save Bridge 32." So far, they have raised $33,000.

"We've reached a third of our goal," Freeman said. "So, I'm very pleased."

For those who call the area near the bridge home, it's about regaining direct access to town and holding on to memories along the picturesque route by the creek.

"It’s good to let everyone know we want that bridge fixed and that it’s important to us," Batts said.