Nine Span Bridge to open Monday; Columbia Ave. bridge reopens

2013-12-04T14:30:00Z 2013-12-05T13:56:17Z Nine Span Bridge to open Monday; Columbia Ave. bridge reopensTimes Staff nwitimes.com
December 04, 2013 2:30 pm  • 

HAMMOND | Two major north-south routes will be back to normal soon, relieving region residents who endured detours for months.

The new Nine Span Bridge on Indianapolis Boulevard is set to open Monday, and the Columbia Avenue bridge on the Hammond-Munster border reopened Wednesday.

The $18 million Nine Span project was completed a few weeks earlier than anticipated. Illinois-based Dunnet Bay Construction led the effort to demolish the old bridge and construct the replacement.

Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland, representatives from the Indiana Department of Transportation, and local elected officials will unveil a historic marker commemorating the old Nine Span Bridge. They also will cut the ribbon on the new Nine Span Bridge on during a ceremony Monday.

The new bridge is expected to open to traffic later that day.

Demolition of the old span that carries cars over the Gibson Yard rail facility on Indianapolis Boulevard began in January with construction of the new bridge following.

The Nine-Span Bridge was rated as being in "poor" condition before it was closed for demolition, according to an inventory of bridge conditions kept by the Federal Highway Administration. It underwent major repairs eight years ago. In recent years, some heavy trucks were banned.

Construction crews opened the Columbia Avenue bridge Wednesday afternoon.

That bridge was closed to traffic on Aug. 9 for the $1.2 million demolition and reconstruction that raised its height over the Little Calumet River. The Lake County Board of Commissioners awarded the contract to Ellas Construction Co. LLC, of Munster.

The bridge's reconstruction now puts it at the 200-year flood level as part of the Little Calumet River levee system.

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