Hurry Up And Wait: Bridge Replacement To Create Future Traffic Hassle

By Jeff Neumeyer

August 24, 2011 Updated Aug 24, 2011 at 6:20 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A road and bridge project designed to boost safety in Fort Wayne will get public attention Thursday.

The project will cause some significant traffic headaches next year.

It’s happening on one of the busiest approaches to downtown.

Clinton Street just south of State Boulevard carries 23,000 vehicles a day, but they won't be using that corridor for at least a good portion of 2012.

The bridge over Spy Run Creek on Clinton Street is slated to be stripped out, and replaced with a new, improved version.

The bridge will be seven feet taller, which will allow for a freer flow of water underneath, reducing flooding concerns in that area.

A curve on Clinton Street will also be straightened between State and Science Central.

When the work begins in earnest next year, a roadway that is a chief entryway into downtown will have to be shut down for months.

Toni Mayo/INDOT: " This is a question that comes up, why do we have to close the road? The road is going to be shifted 16 feet to the east. If that kind of shift is occurring, then that means the approaches have to be shifted with it."

Shayla Yager/Favors the Project: " I think that it would be nicer. There wouldn't be a lot of wrecks and you could see around the corner a lot better."

Indeed, INDOT says over the last seven years, 185 accidents have taken place on the stretch of road being repaired.

Tim Koontz says the curve is a big factor in that.

Tim Koontz/Project is Needed: " We’ve got too many people around here taking it as a hot rod course and I've seen too many things happen on that curve."

There's another big bridge project going on not far from that location right now.

The Martin Luther King Bridge over the Saint Mary's River is being overhauled.

That will be done by the end of the year, before the Spy Run Creek Bridge replacement is started.

A public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at Citizens Square.

Detour routes will be discussed, including the possibility of having two-way traffic on Spy Run Avenue during construction, as a way to relieve traffic congestion.

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