Weather, pandemic cause Sycamore Street bridge delay


Boone County officials said inclement weather and the COVID-19 pandemic were the causes of the delayed Zionsville’s Sycamore Street bridge opening.

The bridge was set to open to traffic Aug. 21. But the new tentative date is Sept. 17.

Craig Parks, director of the Boone County Highway Dept. and county engineer, said inclement weather throughout the bridge’s closure led the project’s contractor, HIS Constructors, Inc., to ask for an extension to finish several uncompleted items.

“In the end, the remaining items left were painting the underside of the structure, the structural steel,” Parks said. “You have to paint it, protect it for preservation. And to access it, we had to keep the bridge closed down.”

Parks said another of the project’s uncompleted items was the installation of a guardrail.

The bridge was closed in February to repair deterioration that had accrued through several decades, something county officials cited as a safety concern. The bridge was last rehabilitated in the 1950s, Parks said. The project includes the reconstruction of the road bridge deck and bridge railing systems and installation of new decorative lighting.

Parks said the county was fortunate to only have the project delayed by three weeks. He said it is difficult to obtain the materials and labor needed to complete projects, which has been exacerbated by INDOT’s decision to accelerate some of its projects during the pandemic, which has further strained access to materials and labor at the county level.

“(It’s) a huge inconvenience on the local population, (but) the contractor has, I feel, done a pretty good job trying to keep things on track,” Parks said. “And, ultimately, when there’s only those couple items left that would require them to be in the road, we didn’t feel comfortable opening it up under those conditions.”