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Tama’s historic Lincoln Highway Bridge is in need of structure and surface repairs

September 12, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

As the 100th anniversary of construction approaches next year, the Lincoln Highway Bridge in Tama has served travelers from the early days of mud roads to carrying traffic on the hard-surface Lincoln Highway and U.S. 30 travelers.

Today it's the eastern gateway into Tama on East 5th Street from Business Highway 30 to U.S. Highway 63. Just park in the adjoining Lincoln Highway Bridge Park and you might be surprised at the amount of traffic traveling across the bridge these days. The bridge has been on the National Registry of Historic Places since 1987

Now damage from trees coming down Mud Creek in floods combined with possible wear to the bridge surface has resulted in needed repairs.

Article Photos

Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Lance V. Mack, Marion, on the Lincoln Highway Bridge in Tama on May 16 with Tama Legionaries Lloyd Chyma and Dan Anderson and their wives, following a flag dedication ceremony in the adjacent park. Some structural and roadway surface issues are needing attention it was recently announced to the Tama City Council. News-Herald photos/John Speer

That's the word from Robert Cramer, president of Cramer and Associates, a Clive, Iowa-based firm specializing in bridges and repairs.

Tama City Clerk Judy Welch has been keeping on top of the bridge needs - it's subject to an Iowa Department of Transportation safety inspection once every two years of which her office receives reports.

Cramer estimated the repairs to the substructure span could cost $15,000. He also recommended to Welch the roadway surface of the bridge be "peeled off" and the underlying surface be inspected for pits. Depending upon what is found, this work could cost up to $25,000 Cramer reported.

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Welch presented information on the bridge needs to the Tama City Council on Sept. 2. She said the substructure work needs to be completed in 2015 while the surface work can wait until 2017.

She said she has been in contact with Angie Hettinger, the coordinator for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway for the Prairie Rivers of Iowa organization. Hettinger is charged with continuing "to define the important assets of (the) byway and set out a guide for preserving and enhancing those assets."

Welch said Hettinger said the Prairie Rivers organization may be able to help with the repair costs.

And, Allan Richards, Tama attorney, serves as the Tama County console on the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association. That organization will be holding its fall meeting in Tama in October.

A new group formed year, the Lincoln Highway Bridge Park Organization Tama-Toledo, has taken an active role in cleaning and sprucing up the park.

The bridge rails were sandblasted and tuck-pointed and new lamp globes installed about seven ears ago, Welch said.

In addition, they spearheaded Lincoln ByWay sales at the park and along 5th Street in early August. The Byway sales are a nation-wide project of the Lincoln Highway Association. (Read Jeannie Sieck's Byway Sale report on Page 5 of today's issue.)



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