A covered bridge spanned the Flatrock River in Moscow for more than 100 years until it was destroyed in a few terrifying moments during a June 2008 tornado. After more than two years and much to the delight of the nearly 2,000 on hand Saturday, a new bridge, the Dan R. Collom and Sons Covered Bridge 2010, was officially opened Saturday. “This is a day that I thought would never come. I was the first to see the bridge in the river the morning following the tornado and I never dreamed that I’d see a covered bridge here again. What a tremendous accomplishment,” Moscow resident and master of ceremonies for Saturday’s event Jack Spaulding, 60, said. Spaulding grew up just a few houses from the bridge in the rural community and still lives in the home he grew up in. As he put it, the small town with a big bridge is just that once again. Those on hand Saturday lined the streets of the small community to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony, hear the RCHS Band, bagpipe music from Southern Indiana Pipe and Drum and brief talks from many of those involved with the rebuilding project. Rush County Commissioner Tom Barnes said that when the decision was made to rebuild a covered bridge on the site a number of initial concerns arose. “We did not know where we were going, only that it was going to be expensive,” Barnes said. On behalf of Rush County Barnes presented master bridge builder Dan Collom a plaque of appreciation for his work on the project. Rush County resident and CSO Architect John Rigsbee spoke about how funding for the project was gained. He said that a Lilly Foundation grant was instrumental, as were individual and business donations and in-kind donations of labor or materials. “There are not a lot of 350-foot covered bridges being built in Indiana now days and this project could not have been accomplished without the efforts of many,” Rigsbee said. Collom was next to speak and thanked his immediate family and the new family he came to know in Rush County. He noted the many efforts of Rush County Highway Superintendent Jerry Sitton and personnel in his department by saying that every county in the state should have a Jerry Sitton. In the days and weeks following the tornado, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels visited Moscow numerous times and pledged his help to bring a covered bridge back to the rural Rush County community. Saturday he said that he knew back in 2008 that Hoosier taxpayer dollars were not an option but that there were other means, the old-fashioned way - the “barn raising way,” an effort in which neighbors help neighbors with a common goal in sight. “It was something about that Moscow loss that reached people everywhere. I look forward to telling this story to others throughout the state. Our willingness to pitch in and help a neighbor. This bridge is not just for Moscow. This bridge is not just for Indiana,” Daniels said. Rush County resident Larry Stout was singled out for his many efforts as well. Stout has headed the Moscow festival for several years. He has said that 2010 marked the final year for the annual bridge festival. The new bridge bears the name of Dan R. Collom and Sons but is already being called, simply, the Moscow covered bridge. Frank Denzler can be contacted at (765) 932-2222 ext. 106 or via e-mail at frank.denzler@rushvillerepublican.com. Visit our Web site at www.rushvillerepublican.com.