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Parker-Cole Crossing to be open in June

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Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

Parker+Cole+Bridge
Written by: Mikaela ConleyOctober 26, 2017

Construction of the Parker-Cole Crossing is still scheduled to be completed in June 2018, said Greg Justice, executive director of facilities management.

The around 300-foot bridge will connect the campuses of IPFW and Ivy Tech’s  Northeast Campus above Coliseum Boulevard and connect to the River Greenway on both sides of Coliseum.

Justice said the builders are running a little behind schedule because they have had issues with steel fabrication, but small setbacks such as that were accounted for in the planning.

The designer, Kurt Heidenreich, also designed the Ron Venderly Family Bridge over the Saint Joseph River and the bridge connecting IPFW’s main campus to student housing across Crescent Avenue. Heidenreich told The Communicator in May that he took classes on IPFW’s campus and received his master’s degree at Purdue University.

The asymmetrical design of the cable-stayed bridge was necessary because of the lack of space on Ivy Tech’s campus to support a second large pylon, he said. However, it also brings value to the design.

“Usually if you let the structure do what it wants to do mathematically and physically, following physics and then engineering rules, it will tend to end up being kind of elegant,” he said.

Yet, this design brings its own challenges.

“Unfortunately for the most part (this type of bridge) uses pieces and parts that are not common or stock so just about everything is custom fabricated,” Justice said.

The two pylons, the curved pieces that go up and over the roadway, are coming from Almet Steel in New Haven, which means they must be transported from New Haven up Coliseum. They are 115 feet long and have a cord length or width of 28 feet.

Justice said Coliseum will have to be closed multiple times in order to bring in large cranes and secure parts of the bridge above the road. In order to minimize the impact on traffic, however, this work will be happening from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The first of these closings is planned for the beginning of November when the pylons are scheduled to be delivered.

The crossing project was the idea of former chancellor Michael Wartell in 2008, Justice said. The University applied for a Transportation Enhancement Act grant three times before raising enough money from the Indiana Department of Transportation funds before receiving 80 percent of the funding. The rest of the 20 percent is being funded by the Olive B. Cole Foundation and Mac and Pat Parker.

“This (bridge) simply gives us another opportunity to bring people on campus and allow people to go back and forth between us and Ivy Tech and all the businesses that are on the other side coliseum,” Justice said. “This really gives us a better opportunity for access across Coliseum and access to our campus.”