Updates Provide Walking, Cycling Accessibility & Scenic Views
Writer & Photographer: Stephanie Duncan
Work is just about completed on the South Main Street Bridge in Zionsville, just in time for the upcoming summer weather. This sizeable project transformed the bridge to make Zionsville Road more pedestrian and cyclist friendly and improve traffic as well, according to Mayor Tim Haak.
The improved bridge got a makeover, eliminating the center turn lane to provide a protected, separated 10-foot multi-use pathway along each side of the road. The mayor hopes that this will help connect the South Village of Zionsville and other nearby neighborhoods and businesses to the rest of downtown Zionsville.
“We partnered with the county with this idea of improving the bridge because typically the county pays for projects like this,” Haak says. “But we had some funding set aside that we could do it. The reason for doing this is for increased connectivity to South Village, Lids, Creekside and make it more walkable for those people.”
Along with wider pedestrian lanes that will allow cyclists and more foot traffic, the bridge also features two scenic overlooks that people can step onto to look at the creek vistas. Lance Lantz, Streets and Stormwater Department Superintendent, who also worked on the project hopes this will become a destination spot.
“We envisioned the bridge to be a destination not just as a means,” he says. “I think people will be lining the rails to take in the vistas.”
For those who remembered the bridge before, most of the view was blocked before this project began.
“People have always complained about that bridge” Haak says. “The sidewalks were narrow so you couldn’t really walk on it and feel safe and certainly couldn’t ride a bike on it. The large concrete sides that used to be there, you couldn’t see the creek.”
The bridge is currently open to traffic and pedestrians are already using the new lanes, and the mayor hopes foot traffic will only increase when the weather gets nicer. The bridge is one link in the mayor’s goal to connect neighboring communities to downtown Zionsville.
“The philosophy of the improved bridge is to extend that Main Street feel, that downtown feel and to not feel as isolated,” Lantz adds. “I think the mayor wanted to tie together the cohesive nature of the area so it felt like one place and not someplace new.”
More street improvements are currently underway to extend that philosophy with the widening of Zionsville Road. This summer, Zionsville Road will be expanded from two lanes to three when a center turn lane is added between Technology Center Drive and 106th Street. The city also plans to add pathways to those nearby neighborhoods to increase the connectivity of that area and make travel to downtown Zionsville safer and easier.