Monroe County debuted a newly rebuilt covered bridge Sunday at a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Bridge enthusiasts and Monroe County locals parked alongside country roads and walked up to the Cedar Ford Covered Bridge to participate in the ceremony. Many people involved with the covered bridge project spoke, including covered bridge expert and lead engineer Jim Barker.
Barker said Cedar Ford Covered Bridge hails from Shelby County, Indiana. He came across the dismantled bridge soon after buying his own company, and he decided to buy the remnants. Years later he began working with Monroe County to rebuild.
Barker said the new bridge is nearly identical to the old one and contains 10% of the old wood.
President of CLR Inc. Chad Reitmeyer said he was proud to be a contractor on the bridge. He thanked many people including city officials for helping to manage the large project.
"The original bridge cost $2,600, this one $1.6 million," Reitmeyer said, grinning at city highway director Lisa Ridge who worked to keep the bridge on budget.
Greg McDuffee, 62, is a member of the Indiana Covered Bridge Society. He said the new Cedar Ford Covered Bridge is currently the 90th authentic covered bridge America. He explained to be authentic, covered bridges must be built with the original standard of the bridges they are replicating.
McDuffee said Indiana ranks 3rd among states for most covered bridges. He said the ribbon cutting event gives him an opportunity to be around others who share his interests.
"It makes the world really small sometimes when you get to these places, and you get to meet people from other states who came for the same thing," McDuffee said.
Jeremy Boshears, 43, is writing a book on the history of covered bridges in Monroe County. He explained McMillian Bridge, a former covered bridge near the area, fell decades ago due to arson.
"Since 1976, Monroe County hasn't had a covered bridge,” Boshears said. “And I would like to thank everyone who helped rebuild this bridge for all of us and future generations to enjoy."
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