Neighbors ready for Central Ave. bridge to open after two-year closure

INDIANAPOLIS – A long bridge closure is expected to end next month, and nearby residents say it can’t come soon enough.

In the spring of 2017, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works shutdown a bridge on Central Avenue, just south of Fall Creek Parkway. The department’s website said the bridge would remain close until the fall of 2018 as workers replaced the structure.

However, the bridge project is not complete and the closure has gone on for more than two years, at least six months past the initial deadline.

“It’s just become, I almost don’t remember what it was like when it was open anymore,” said Wes Hamerstadt, who has lived nearby for nearly five years. “That’s what life has been like now with it closed up.”

A DPW spokesperson said the bridge project had one postponement and that the work is set to be completed sometime in July. The spokesperson added the delay was due to finding more than 800 replacement sand stones for the historic preservation of the arches that fill out the bridge’s structure.

He said approximately 1,700 old sand stones from the bridge were kept and used again, but work had to stop while the other several hundred were ordered from Ohio.

For neighbors in Fall Creek Place, the closure has changed how their commute.

Daniel Nauth said Lyft and Uber drivers still don’t know the construction is going on until they get to the closed intersection.

“They for some reason can never figure out the bridge is closed,” said Nauth, who has lived in the area for ten years. “They have to go all the way around to College or Delaware and it will take them 20 minutes just to get to the house.”

Neighbors have noticed a more quiet neighborhood. They’re hoping that will stay the case when the bridge re-opens next month.

During the construction process, the city converted Central Avenue to a two-way street. It’s expected to reduce speeds, which was an issue in the morning when all traffic headed south to downtown.

“This used to be a very busy, super highway,” Nauth said. “In the mornings especially. Cars would drive through here at an excess of 50 miles an hour.”

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