Indianapolis city officials this week presented a pair of potential designs for the new Henry Street bridge spanning the White River to nearby residents.
The bridge would connect The Valley neighborhood—which includes the former General Motors stamping plant property, where Elanco Animal Health Inc. plans to build its new headquarters—to the south side of downtown, including the proposed Eleven Park campus that would occupy the Diamond Chain Manufacturing Co. property.
The Henry Street bridge would accommodate both cars and pedestrians and is a key component in the city’s infrastructure-heavy incentive package to bring Greenfield-based Elanco downtown.
The structure—a joint project between the city’s Department of Public Works and the Department of Metropolitan Development—is expected to cost about $15 million to $20 million, with targeted completion by March 2025. About $51 million in infrastructure for the site was approved last July as part of a larger funding package for Elanco’s project.
The presentation to residents in The Valley laid out two “rough” design concepts, a Department of Public Works spokesperson told IBJ in an email. The meeting allowed the city to receive feedback on the proposals, but did not include a vote on which residents preferred.
The agency plans to continue engaging with The Valley and other nearby neighborhoods in the coming months, with plans to incorporate historic elements and “neighborhood points of pride” into the design, Ben Easley, DPW’s director of communications, told IBJ in an email.
“Certainly, strong elements of either concept represented here—in addition to other ideas that came about from the meeting—could be included in the final” design, Easley said. “The design process is still very much ongoing.”
Each of the proposals feature a 26-foot-wide, two-lane road, as well as a separate pedestrian path, 6-foot sidewalk and bicycle trail that would likely connect to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Both designs also include sitting areas, planters, green space and public art or community-focused design elements.
But the concepts differ in their design execution. One includes archways atop the bridge supports, creating a quasi-gateway between the two sides of the river. The other takes a more contemporary, simple approach and features standard support beams. Both have a slight curve about halfway across.
The bridge is expected to traverse the new portion of White River State Park, as well as a small piece of land near the eastern bank of the river that was historically called Governor’s Island.
“The Henry Street Bridge is a major milestone for accessibility in our city. This iconic, generational investment in Indianapolis’ first multi-modal bridge is a testament to Mayor Hogsett’s goal of enhancing connectivity in downtown and across our city,” Scarlett Andrews, director of DMD, said in written remarks.
“The bridge plays a pivotal role in our downtown resiliency strategy by activating the $100 million Elanco Global HQ and expanding downtown’s footprint into the Valley Neighborhood. As the design process continues, we look forward to collaborating with neighborhood stakeholders in the development of this historic infrastructure.”
DMD and DPW staff are expected to continue working on the bridge design over the next year, in addition to working on coordinating utility work and meeting with residents and consulting parties.
Bids for bridge construction are expected to go out in August 2023, after the design portion is completed. Construction on Henry Street on each side of the bridge is expected to begin about one month later, with completion set for November 2024.
Indianapolis firms Meticulous Design and Architecture and Context Design are the architectural firms on the project. The Indianapolis office of New York City-based WSP USA is the engineering firm.