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‘Unique’ bridge to connect IPFW and Ivy Tech

Courtesy Rendering

Photo credit: Courtesy Rendering

Courtesy Rendering
Written by: Communicator StaffMay 05, 2017

Written by: Zachary D. Elick

The recently unveiled Parker Cole Crossing bridge will connect the campuses of IPFW and Ivy Tech Community College Northeast when it is projected to be completed in June 2018.

Last month, IPFW and Ivy Tech held a groundbreaking ceremony for the bridge, which will extend over Coliseum Boulevard.

A joint venture between IPFW, Ivy Tech and the Indiana Department of Transportation, Parker Cole Crossing will cost about 4.5 million. INDOT has agreed to pay 80 percent of this cost, and the remaining 20 percent will be paid by donations from the Olive B. Cole Foundation and Mac and Pat Parker, according an IPFW press release.

The asymmetrical design of Parker Cole Crossing owes to the lack of space on the Ivy Tech side needed to construct a second large support pylon. Yet, the limitations offered by the terrain also added to the bridge’s aesthetic appeal, said Kurt Heidenreich, designer of Parker Cole Crossing and president of Engineering Resources

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

Heidenreich holds a master’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue University West Lafayette. Yet, he initially took engineering courses at IPFW as a freshman.

After earning his degree and founding Engineering Resources, Heidenreich was tapped to design IPFW’s Crescent Avenue Bridge in 2000. A few years later he also designed the Venderly Family Bridge, which connects IPFW’s main campus to its west campus by spanning the St. Joseph River.

Of the three cable-stayed bridges he has designed for IPFW, Parker Cole Crossing is the most artistic, Heidenreich said. It combines elements of the first two, taking the modern aspects of the Crescent Avenue Bridge with the long span of the Venderly Family Bridge.

“Between the lighting of it and the uniqueness of the structural system — I don’t know if I will get a chance to do something quite that unique again.”

Along with the single-pylon, Parker Cole Crossing includes curved support structures on the IPFW side that have been accentuated to look more appealing. But, what will be even more eye-catching about the bridge is the LED lights covering its support structures that will glow at night, Heidenreich said.

“Rather than lighting the bridge like we have done with the other ones, the bridge will be the light,” he said, pointing out how the lights will have the ability to be changed to any color.

Kim Wagner, director of public relations for IPFW, said over the phone that it is hard to determine exactly how many students attend both Ivy Tech and IPFW at the same time. But, she said the number was at least several hundred.

To Wagner, Parker Cole Crossing represents IPFW’s capacity for “forward thinking,” which is why she said the timing of the groundbreaking ceremony for the bridge was serendipitous.

The ceremony took place on the same day, April 21, that IPFW announced the campus will be changing its name to Purdue University Fort Wayne.

“It was pretty symbolic,” Wagner said. “Because we are just continuing to look forward and we want to continue to be a great educational institution for the residents in northeast Indiana.”