MLK Jr Memorial Bridge 2010 Closure

An article posted on the Journal Gazette website indicates that to save expense, a temporary bridge over the St. Mary’s River will not be built while the old bridge undergoes removal and the new bridge is built.  Either way, the State DOT will handle the detour’s details and setup.  The project will take approximately a year.  According to the article, the cost of the project is now $7.8 million, down from $8.1 million.  The City’s share also dropped $11,000 to $1.9 million.

From the article: 

Although the city is moving forward with the project, Ross [City Engineer] said officials still have not identified the source of the city’s share of construction funds. The cuts shouldn’t reduce the scope of the project, other than elimination of the temporary bridge, he said.

“We’ll have to be watching this project carefully to make sure we stay within our budget,” Ross said.

Ross said a temporary one- or two-lane bridge probably wouldn’t have solved traffic concerns for Clinton Street, which is three lanes across the river, and it likely would have hurt neighboring Headwaters Park and Lawton Park.

What this probably means logically is that Spy Run Avenue will become a temporary 2-way street.  The other arteries that run through downtown would not be able to sustain the added traffic resulting from the Clinton Street closure.  The article does say that there’s a possibility multiple detour routes will be given.  Actually this might have a good benefit.  Remember this past February when Clinton Street was down to one lane through Headwaters Park because of flood waters?

Clinton Street during the March flooding

More March 2008 Flood photos

Perhaps it could be considered a trial run to work out the kinks so that in the future, Spy Run Avenue could be used two-ways so Clinton Street could be shut down if needed.  I guess it would be an awfully long trial run at that.  The other thing to consider is the impact of the project on Lawton and Headwaters Parks as well as the various festivals that occur in the area.  The President of Science Central states (according to the article) that he’s not concerned about the closure as long as people can still access the site.  Undoubtedly, it will have some affect on these venues, but it will be more an issue of inconvenience than anything else.

With the project a little less than two years out, there should be no excuses for a plan to be developed, in place and publicized before the construction begins.

The new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge design

Artist rendering from the City of Fort Wayne

Thanks to Jennifer (Griggs) Jeffrey for the heads up!

3 COMMENTS

  1. Great reporting as usual, Stephen.

    I fear that the MLK Bridge closure may become the death knell for Science Central unless contingency plans are developed. It would be a great shame to lose this attraction, particularly in light of the announced closing of the Lincoln Museum. I pray I’m wrong.

    Dave MacDonald

  2. Thank you Dave!

    I am also concerned about the problems this will cause for the Headwaters Park Ice Rink. Earlier this year during the flooding, attendance dropped dramatically because people thought it was closed. This will definitely have an effect on things. Good news is that people and organizations have two years to plan. What I’m wondering is if the 4th Street intersection at Clinton will be re-worked to accomodate the changes. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

    Thanks again, Dave!

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