Restoration efforts on the historic Medora Covered Bridge in Jackson County came to a close this June and those involved in the project celebrated their success Tuesday afternoon.
Engineer Brad Isaacs has worked on bridges before, but he’s especially proud of this one. Restoring the Medora Covered Bridge back to the way it looked when it was first built in 1875 was no easy task.
“Last summer was very, very dry as we all remember,” Isaacs said. “The heat was soaring. [During] the winter months, the wind coming off this here water and off this river just froze you.”
Consulting historic photos, Isaacs and his crew restored all 462 feet of the bridge in fifteen months. 80 to 85% of the materials used in the restoration were original, but in some cases engineers had to splice in new pieces of wood with the old.
“To get the opportunity to work on [the bridge] in the depth that I did was a definite pleasure,” Isaacs said.
Tuesday, Isaacs was able to celebrate the successful rehab of the bridge with local leaders, INDOT representatives and Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman.
“We have only one hundred or so covered bridges left in Indiana and they’re all unique and all special,” Skillman said. “But this one, however, is the longest historic covered bridge not only in the state but in the entire country.”
The Medora Covered Bridge cost just over $18,000 to build back in 1875. The cost of the restoration totaled $1.3 million.