Bridges and Sidewalks and Roads, Oh My!

Crew mills a top layer of asphalt prior to strip patching on Meridian Street. IMM photo.


by Thomas P. Healy

It’s springtime, and the community’s attention turns to…infrastructure!

Since asphalt plants opened in March, the City of Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) street maintenance team has switched from using cold-mix patching material to the more durable hot-mix asphalt. DPW has announced locations for the first phase of its strip-patching program using specialized equipment it acquired in 2018 that results in a more durable repair. According to DPW, the new equipment can mill partial or entire lanes of roadway before laying down a new surface up to 4 inches deep.

Two Midtown locations on the phase-one list include Meridian Street from 38th Street to 56th Street, and Kessler Boulevard from Westfield Boulevard to the White River bridge near Spring Mill Road.

DPW asks motorists to watch for orange barrels and cones around construction zones, reduce speed, and give construction crews the space they need to work safely.

To report a pothole on Indianapolis local streets:
Call the Mayor’s Action Center at 317-327-4622; or,
‘Create A New Request’ via the online portal RequestIndy or by downloading the RequestIndy app. Use the Indy Pothole Viewer to report a location and then view information about where potholes have been reported across the county.


According to Ben Easley, DPW’s chief communications officer, several large-scale street and drainage projects are slated for Midtown neighborhoods this year.

SD-18-003E Norwaldo Phase II Stormwater Improvements. Drainage work along Crittenden and Norwaldo avenues and Kingsley Drive south of Kessler Boulevard that began in 2019 is expected to be complete by June.

ST-20-101 Keystone Avenue repaving. The contract for rehab of the section from 65th Street to 38th Street has been awarded. DPW’s Easley said resurfacing project will begin March 23. Estimated to cost more than $7.5 million, the project includes resurfacing and patching Keystone Avenue, sidewalk and curb repair, curb ramp installation and drainage improvements between 39th and 65th Streets. In all, 19.2 lane miles will be repaired or resurfaced. Access to business and residential properties on Keystone Avenue will be maintained.

A project of this magnitude will require weekday lane closures between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. for various segments under construction along the thoroughfare. One traffic lane will remain open in both directions during construction for unrestricted northbound and southbound flow. Motorists may also see some lane restrictions on Saturdays as crews continue working in certain locations. Utility employees and construction crew members will work as scheduled with specialized care to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. Keystone Avenue is expected to reopen to traffic in late October, weather permitting.

Two long-awaited Safe Routes to Schools sidewalk projects are finally scheduled for 2020: CW-11-150 SRTS Immaculate Heart/CFI School 84 (57th Street) and CW-11-152 SRTS St. Joan of Arc (42nd Street).


DPW project BR-18-002 Monon Trail Bridge over 38th Street. Plans for the bridge have been in discussion since 2012. Construction will happen this year. A collaboration between the Indiana Department of Transportation and DPW, the five-span $5.5 million project is designed to improve trail safety and mobility. Public input resulted in DPW maintaining the existing at-grade crossing as indicated in the rendering. DPW rendering


A Safe Routes to Transit sidewalk project within Midtown’s Red Line corridor is currently in the final stages of design. Construction could begin later this year.

SD-11-009 Broad Ripple Area Drainage Improvements. Another long-awaited project will improve drainage on Broad Ripple Avenue from College Avenue to Winthrop Avenue. The project is expected to enter the design phase in 2021.

BM-11-097 Kessler Blvd. W. Drive Bridge over White River. At a public hearing in January, DPW described its plan to extend the life of the five-span reinforced concrete girder bridge. Built in 1957 and rehabbed in 1995, the structure has several deficiencies, including holes in the bridge deck, exposed reinforcing steel, leaking expansion joints, misaligned roller bearing plates, concrete deterioration, and substandard guardrails and sidewalks. By replacing the bridge superstructure, approach slabs, decking, curbs, curb ramps, and railing, DPW expects to extend the bridge’s life by a minimum of 25 years. Cost is estimated at $6 million to $7 million using a combination of federal and local funds.

To improve pedestrian connectivity, the sidewalk at the southeast bridge corner will be extended east on Kessler Boulevard along Friedman Park’s north edge to the Riverview Drive/Illinois Street intersection. Existing streetlights will be replaced with new lighting, using modern fixtures that resemble historic light posts.

DPW anticipates construction will begin in January 2021 and be completed by year’s end.
One of the most anticipated infrastructure projects in Midtown involves repaving the Monon Trail. Maintenance crews have already cut back vegetation along the corridor. The project involves not only widening the popular trail but also improving drainage. Originally, federal funds were to slated to underwrite the costs, but DPW will now rebid the project for local funding