Clinton Street Closure Detours Drivers Heading Downtown

By Max Resnik
By Scott Sarvay
By Stephanie Parkinson

March 14, 2012 Updated Mar 14, 2012 at 6:07 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – One of the main drags to get into downtown Fort Wayne closed Wednesday night. Clinton Street shut down as part of a big construction project to tear down the Spy Run Bridge.

Clinton will be closed between State Street and Elizabeth for the majority of the spring and summer.

What this means for drivers coming from the north is they will now have to use Spy Run Avenue to get downtown. To make that possible the three-lane northbound street will become a two-way street that will allow drivers to turn west on Elizabeth Street. From there, motorists will be able to access Clinton Street by turning south to head into downtown Fort Wayne.

Check related content to view the detour maps.

INDOT says the goal of the $2.1 million project is to raise the bridge 7 feet when they replace it. They say that will help with flooding from the Spy Run Creek. The project will also change the curves in Clinton Street. INDOT says overall it will make the roadway safer for drivers.

"Of course there's always the inconvenience right now, but 6 months from now, when that road is open, the curve is softened, the bridge is raised, those are two issues, safety and the flooding that we have to look at. And we have to take advantage of this particular project and the funding now," said Toni Mayo, INDOT, Fort Wayne District.

City of Fort Wayne traffic engineer Shan Gunawardena says he expects some driver confusion during the first few days of detoured travel but also says drivers should adjust fairly quickly because they have experienced the detour in the past.

“There was a time when we attempted this many, many years ago when Clinton Street had to be closed because of flooding of the bridge, and that was a very short time frame. The thing about making a big change is that it takes a while for drivers to get used to it. So I think that experience from that first effort was not the best, but what we’ve learned over the years is that once drivers have driven the route for three or four days, and they figure out what the best way for them to take is, they'll get accustomed to it.”

Guanwardena says travelers were given a dry run during the closure of Clinton Street while the Martin Luther King Bridge was under construction. He says that detour worked very well for traffic into downtown Fort Wayne.

Guanwardena also says the detour was created with businesses in mind and believes that once the construction is done, businesses will see a benefit from the improvements on Clinton Street.

“We move a lot of traffic on Clinton Street through the downtown area. I think we are very optimistic that this will be a positive detour and help out the downtown businesses."

Clinton Street will reopen in August and is expected to be completed in October.

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