The bridge that connects the north and south sections of Upland will begin being replaced in the spring of 2023.
This maintenance includes a full bridge closure for up to 12 months.
According to Ron Sutherland, assistant to the president and member of the Upland town council, the project is slated for bidding and contract award in the latter half of 2022, making it eligible for construction in 2023.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) decided the bridge was due for replacement based upon their systematic review of structures.
When using the bridge, people have difficulty seeing incoming vehicles coming from the opposite direction. The project hopes to address existing sight-distance issues by making the new structure four feet higher than the current one.
The bridge sits on the main street of Upland, located near The Bridge Cafe and Upland Tire, where the downtown area is located. This is considered a section of a state highway.
Because of this classification, INDOT is required to suggest a temporary route away from the construction for larger vehicles and highway traffic. They suggest that drivers use State Route 22 and 26 during the 12-month closure.
“Access to all properties will be maintained throughout construction,” an INDOT report said. “Project stakeholders including the local school corporation and emergency services will be notified of potential closures and/or detours prior to any construction.”
The construction team plans to work on one side of the bridge at a time, allowing one-way traffic and access to local businesses.
This plan will allow Upland residents to make their way through the downtown as they are accustomed to, although at a slower pace.
“It shouldn’t deter business too much,” Joshua Kinney, a worker at Ivanhoe's said. “I just hope people will still go out and support their local businesses … it is great for friends and family to come together and eat good food.”
Additionally, The Bridge Cafe, echoed a similar sentiment.
“We don’t anticipate it affecting business much,” Jaime Hughes, general manager of the cafe, said. “The customers who want to come will come down 8th and up the road by town hall. We’re excited about the improvements to downtown Upland!”
Upland residents have acknowledged the upcoming changes as well. The town's Facebook page announced the plan.
Taylor students are also learning of the forthcoming change.
“I think it's going to affect local businesses because customers or people that support these small businesses aren't going to be able to get to those businesses as easily,” freshman Maggie Golminas said. “Construction is going to cause a lot of traffic, which can turn people off or turn people away from wanting to go places. I think it's unfortunate that the construction is going to happen, but it is important and necessary for safety.”
Golminas plans to graduate in the spring of 2025, two years following the planned start date of the bridge replacement.
During the time of the construction, she plans to be mindful of supporting local businesses in Upland.
“I'll try to make extra efforts when I go out, and I will try to support those businesses,” Golminas said.