Possible MLK Jr Temporary Bridge

Artist rendering from the City of Fort Wayne

An article by Ben Lanka in this morning’s Journal Gazette reports that a consulting firm will be hired to examine whether or not a temporary bridge needs to be built when work begins on replacing the current Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Bridge in 2010.  He quotes Rachel Blakeman, PIO for the City of Fort Wayne, as saying, “Everything is on the table,” in regards to all options concerning traffic. 

The City isn’t able to afford the $1.25 million to allow the temporary bridge to be built.  When the Public Board of Works voted not to build the temporary structure on April 1, 2008, a public outcry was heard.  A letter to the Journal Gazette Editor declared it would kill off downtown revitalization efforts and businesses.  Besides, no bridge would cut off the Harrison Square project from those coming from outside the city to attend games.  Other citizens are concerned about navigating the downtown are and the effects of throwing 26,000 vehicles off their regular path and onto other streets.

Whatever the answer, hiring a consultant is probably a pretty good idea – as long as it does NOT delay the project.  This project has been in the works for years.  It’s a significant investment in downtown, with the City contributing very little to reap the rewards.  Let a consultant decide.  The only thing I would add is that while examining traffic patterns and options, perhaps it would be good to have the consultant draft a contingency plan in case Clinton Street ever needs to be shut down.  The plan could be an either or proposition – Spy Run Avenue (Lafayette Street) or Clinton Street.  The need for this became pretty evident with this past February’s flooding.

Previous AFW Posts:
MLK Jr Memorial Bridge 2010 Closure
MLK Jr Bridge controversy

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