Mayor Tom Henry on Oct. 30 announced plans for significant upgrades to the bridge along Spy Run Avenue near The Old Fort and its new name – the Fort Wayne Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Project details:

• The bridge will continue to provide three through lanes for motorists while also providing additional pedestrian width to enhance the connectivity of downtown to The Old Fort and the adjacent neighborhoods.

• A railing will be installed to separate vehicular traffic from pedestrian traffic.

• Several bump-out areas will be provided for pedestrians above the pier locations to create focal points. Pedestrian plaza areas will be provided at the southwest and southeast corners of the bridge. There will also be curved column features at the bump out areas, which will accommodate accent lighting elements. Lighting for illumination of the road as well as the pedestrian walkways will be included.

• 23,500 vehicles pass over the bridge each day

• Construction expected to start in spring 2022

Construction work will be a partnership between the city of Fort Wayne and the Indiana Department of Transportation. The renaming of the bridge will require approval by the Indiana General Assembly. The city and the northeast Indiana delegation are working together to bring the proposal forward in the upcoming 2020 session.

The bridge is currently named after former Indiana Gov. Samuel Bigger. The city plans to rename the bandshell in McCulloch Park after Bigger, where he is laid to rest.

“Renovating a signature gateway in Fort Wayne is an important next step in our ongoing efforts to provide motorists, pedestrians and visitors with safe and innovative ways to navigate our great city,” Henry said. “I’m also grateful for the opportunity we have to honor and recognize all branches of the military. The men and women who sacrifice so much for all of us deserve to be celebrated and remembered.”

Henry was joined at the announcement by state and local government leaders, military officials, INDOT representatives, and community and neighborhood advocates.

Bigger, who died in Fort Wayne on Sept. 9, 1846, was governor 1840-43.

An early estimate is $5.6 million for engineering and construction.

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