HAMMOND | The Nine Span Bridge on Indianapolis Boulevard in Hammond will be closed starting Monday for demolition and the building of a new bridge.
The bridge is on one of the busiest north-south routes between Hammond and East Chicago and serves as a gateway to the East Chicago South Shore station, the busiest on the commuter railroad.
Ticket agents will have detour maps available for people who drive to the station and there is also a large, billboard-type poster of the detour at the station, said NICTD Planning and Marketing Director John Parsons.
The approved Indiana Department of Transportation detour for northbound traffic will be to go east on Interstate 80/94, north on Ind. 912 (Cline Avenue), and west on U.S. 20 (Michigan Street). Southbound traffic will travel east on U.S. 20 (Michigan Street), south on Ind. 912 (Cline Avenue), and west on I-80/94.
NICTD doesn't expect many commuters to switch to other stations, as the inconvenience should not be that great, Parsons said. Also, it is anticipated commuters may use other routes such as Kennedy Avenue to get to the station.
Dunnet Bay Construction, of Glendale Heights, Ill., has been awarded the $17.99 million contract for demolishing the existing bridge and building a new one, according to INDOT.
INDOT projects the new bridge will be open by the end of 2013.
The Nine-Span Bridge is currently rated as being in "poor" condition and underwent major repairs eight years ago. Some heavy trucks are banned from the bridge. It carries Indianapolis Boulevard vehicle traffic over the CSX tracks and Indiana Harbor Belt's Gibson Yard.
INDOT originally slated construction to start in 2009 on a replacement for the bridge. But the date was pushed back to revise its design so it did not interfere with development in Gibson Yard, according to state officials at the time.