Harmony Way Bridge over the Wabash River between White County, Illinois, and Posey County, Indiana, may soon have a new life.
The engineering marvel built in 1930 has sat unused since being permanently closed in 2012 due to structural issues. Federal law that created the White County Bridge Commission to purchase the structure from a private company in 1941 has prevented the two states from being able to take advantage of popular ideas to repurpose the bridge since its closing. That is on the verge of changing, thanks in large part to the Restore Harmony Way Bridge Act, H.R. 6793, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously Tuesday.
"I am happy that the hard work of so many people of both sides of the Wabash is about to come to fruition," said Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15), whose district includes the Illinois portion of the bridge. "In particular, I want to thank Congressman Larry Bucshon (R, Indiana-8), who authored the legislation, which conveys the structure to a New Harmony Bridge Bi-State Commission established by Illinois and Indiana."
That new commission will be tasked with deciding the future of the bridge, which connected Illinois Route 14 with Indiana State Road 66, known as Church Street in New Harmony, Indiana.
Every House member of the Illinois and Indiana delegations cosponsored H.R. 6793. Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Todd Young (R, Indiana).