Mayor Tom Henry, schoolchildren, residents and businesses from the Edsall Avenue area celebrated the reopening of the bridge on that street after four years.
Fort Wayne City Council and city staff celebrated Sept. 16 the reopening of the bridge, which affected access to the neighborhood, Adams Elementary and businesses. Nearly 1,700 residents, along with 101 businesses and 10 churches are located within a half-mile of the Edsall bridge, according to a city statement.
“The closure created a challenge for our school family and students. We have many students that used the bridge to get to school from neighborhoods north of the railroad tracks,” Allison Holland, principal of Adams Elementary, said in the city statement. “The new bridge makes getting to and from school easier, and we appreciate the safety features of a barrier protecting walkers from cars and trucks.”
The county’s bridges had weight limits of 4-14 tons, with Edsall’s being on the lowest end in 2015 when the bridge was closed July 30, 2015. At that time, 2,000 vehicles a day crossed it.
The new bridge has no load restrictions, according to Frank Suarez, public works and city utilities spokesman.
“Prior to (the Allen County Highway Department) closing the bridge, it had load restrictions and then the steel beams deteriorated to the point where it was closed completely in July of 2015,” Suarez said.
The bridge construction was $2.1 million with funds coming from the bridge fund.
“Making infrastructure enhancements positions our community for current and future growth and success,” Henry said in the city’s statement.
The bridge is located near the merger of Washington and Maumee avenues by Memorial Park and crosses Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.
In 2017, the city of Fort Wayne assumed maintenance duties of bridges in city limits, and the bridge on Edsall Avenue became a top priority for replacement, according to the city. Since 2017, the city has completed three bridge reconstructions with this being one of the first tracked from design to completion.