Update to Chapin Street pedestrian bridge now underway

A pedestrian bridge that many have called an "eye-sore" is finally getting an update.

Work has started on the 44-year-old Chapin Street pedestrian bridge.

The stretch of Chapin Street just South of Western Avenue is closed for about two blocks. City officials said the road will be closed until June 15.

Some residents said they do not mind some short-term inconvenience if it means their pedestrian bridge will not look neglected any longer.

“If we're not going to get a new one, at least get this one to the point where it is viable and not horrible to look at,” said Richard White, a nearby resident.

The bridge is currently draped while workers start to remove the lead paint on it. The $250,000 project will focus on replacing the wire mesh on the rails, painting the steel, putting new coating on the concrete areas and giving the bridge some mechanical strengthening.

“We expect by the 4th of July, everything will be done,” said Carl Littrel, from the South Bend engineering department. “We'll have a much better looking facility, much more functional.”

Many say updating the bridge is not just about aesthetics, but also about safety. With additions to the area like the Kroc Center, providing a safe way to cross the street has become a priority.

“On a regular day, especially after school and in the summer, there is always a parade of children going by,” White said.

The South Bend Common Council approved funds for this project last fall.

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