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Monon Trail Gets Bridge at 38th Street

Writer & Photographer / Michael Durr

bridgeAs you drive down 38th Street past the Indiana State Fairgrounds, you may notice a new bridge structure sitting atop the six-lane road. However, you can be certain that neighborhood walkers, runners and bikers have taken notice. The bridge that ramps up and over 38th Street is a new addition to a vast trail system that spans the entire city.

The six lanes and high-speed traffic at this junction of 38th Street were considered by many to be unsafe for anyone looking to cross.

“This project was created because we wanted to come up with a fix for that,” says Hannah Scott-Carter, public information officer with the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW).

The design was planned and executed by the DPW, and even has some details that pay homage to the history of the location, including a walkway that resembles railroad tracks.

“It was a five-plus year project designing and getting funding, and we worked extensively with neighborhood and community organizations in the area,” Scott-Carter says.

The Monon was a north-south rail line that traversed the length of the state and provided a vital service to the United States military during the Civil War. In 1883, the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad initiated passenger service between Indianapolis and Chicago.

bridgeIn the 1920s, improvements were made including the construction of Boulevard Station, which connected five of the state’s universities – Purdue University, Wabash College, DePauw University, Butler University and Indiana University were all accessible through Boulevard Station. In 1996, the Monon Railroad began transforming into a multipurpose trail system.

The Indianapolis section of the Monon Trail starts at 10th street, near the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, and runs through commercial areas, historic districts, the Indiana State Fairgrounds, parks, and neighborhoods to a connection with the Monon Greenway in Carmel at 96th Street.

“We know greenways are good for connectivity, health and culture, and it is something that is important to the city, especially in a time when more people want to be outside – trails are a great way to do that,” Scott-Carter says.

As the ice begins to melt and the cold begins to pass, you can look forward to utilizing this new structure. If you want to be an early adopter and brave the elements, the bridge will officially open in the coming weeks.

For more information about the Monon Trail and the Indianapolis Greenways system, contact Indy Parks and Recreation at 317-327-7275 or visit indy.gov. You can also follow updates on the bridge completion at instagram.com/broadripplemagazine.

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