PRINCETON — Gibson County Commissioners tabled action this week on making repairs to the county's two covered bridges until they know the full cost of a security camera project to help prevent vandalism.

Red Bridge, built in 1875 over Big Bayou Creek in southwest Gibson County, and Wheeling Bridge, constructed in 1877 over the Patoka River, are certified as historic bridges. The county receives a small amount of revenue for preservation each year.

Highway Superintendent Chuck Lewis reported it will cost about $9,085 to repair rotting boards and reinforce the sides of the two historic structures, which are often vandalized.

Earlier this summer, commissioners approved installing pole-mounted security cameras to help thwart vandalism at the bridges.

In October, Gibson County Economic Development Corp. CEO Paul Waters reported a grant has been requested through the Smithville Charitable Foundation, including requests for internet and electricity which would allow for pole cameras to be placed at the site. Funding for painting the exterior of the bridge was also requested in the application.

The security camera proposal to commissioners from BCS Services included a $17,118 plan for mounting solar-powered cameras at Red Bridge and electronic cameras at Wheeling Bridge to give a full view of activity. The company also proposed a $30,798 plan that would include cameras inside the bridges, but commissioners opted to first try the exterior cameras, contingent upon working logistics with the sheriff's department.

The cameras can automatically send images to authorities and also store images.

At Wednesday morning's session, commissioners asked Lewis for some time to determine what the cost of the camera project would leave in the fund.

In other business, commissioners approved amendments to the Gibson County Local Emergency Planning Committee's plan and heard monthly reports from department heads.

Gibson County Sheriff Tim Bottoms reported 168 court appearances were arranged last month by video from the jail, requiring only 25 transports. He said 28 level 6 felon inmates were incarcerated in October, with an average census of 133 for the month in jail and 44 average census in work release.

Gibson County Engineer Matt Holden said he hopes to be ready for construction of a lake and bathroom facilities at Hopkins Family park next year.

He also reported that weather is playing a role in completing bridge and paving projects. He said concrete approaches were formed for a bridge replacement on County Road 400 West about a half-mile south of Ind. 64 west of Princeton, but cold and wet weather could delay paving. He said contractors are dealing with the same issue for paving on the County Road 800 South (Coal Mine Road) widening project.

Commissioners agreed to remove a stop sign at northbound County Road 250 West, west of Haubstadt, and place it at the "T" intersection of County Road 1000 South and County Road 250 West, setting the speed limit at 40 mph and at 30 mph in some designated areas.

Board of Commissioners President Steve Bottoms reported that a jail study commissioned by the county this year will be ready for review at the 8 a.m. Dec. 3 meeting. He said he mistakenly noted last month that the study would be ready in November.

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