A bill has been introduced to Congress that proposes to refurbish and reopen the Harmony Way Bridge and repeal a 1941 federal statute interfering with state efforts to do the same.
The Restore the Harmony Way Bridge Act was introduced by U.S. Reps. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and John Shimkus (R-IL), as well as U.S. Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN), Todd Young (R-IN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL). The bridge has been closed since 2012 as a result of structural integrity issues its governing states of Indiana and Illinois have been unable to fix.
“I am optimistic that this legislation will pass both chambers of Congress and finally breath life back into the New Harmony Bridge that extends from Indiana to Illinois across the Wabash River,” Bucshon said. “The Restore the Harmony Way Bridge Act will convey the Harmony Way Bridge to both the Indiana and Illinois Bridge Authorities – allowing the states to have management over the Harmony Way Bridge and write the next chapter for this historic bridge.”
Instead, they have been barred from doing so. After the bridge was built in 1930, a federal law was put in place which prevented it from being refurbished or reopened by its respective states. The new act would change that, giving the bridge over to the New Harmony River Bridge Authority (for Illinois) and the New Harmony and Wabash River Bridge Authority (for Indiana).
“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan, bicameral legislation which will grant certainty to the New Harmony community,” Young said. “Passage of this bill would allow Posey county, along with its neighboring communities, to dictate the future of this important, historic landmark.”
The Restore the Harmony Way Bridge Act has been cosponsored in the House by every member of the Indiana and Illinois delegations. A similar bill was passed in the 115th Congress.