The U.S. Department of Transportation is sending Iowa just over $375,000 to help protect the famed covered bridges in Madison County. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says the money will be used to install infrared cameras and flame detection systems on five covered bridges.
Harkin says the bridges are unique and an important tourist destination and he feels the money is important to keeping the bridges safe. Harkin, a Democrat, says the security measures will hopefully keep the bridges from being damaged by vandals.
Harkin says the bridges have been targeted by arsonists, as the Cedar Bridge bridge was destroyed in 2002 and the Hogback Bridge was also damaged by an arson fire. The historic covered bridges in Madison County were made famous by Robert James Waller’s 1992 novel "The Bridges of Madison County" and the 1995 movie based on the book.