INDIANAPOLIS - Drivers who travel over the Fall Creek Bridge on Keystone Avenue for their daily commute need to brace themselves for possible delays.
The bridge is slated for a total reconstruction and traffic will be reduced to one lane, both ways, on the bridge starting Saturday.
Officials said an average of 26,730 vehicles travel on the Fall Creek bridge every day.
It was built in 1950, rehabilitated in 1983 and is inspected every two years. During the latest inspection, challenges to the bridge's structural integrity were found.
"We always expect there to be more traffic backup in that first week when we first impose those traffic restrictions. We will be monitoring and taking care of the signal light timing in the area to help manage the traffic better. But people should be prepared to experience delays and to start making alternate routes for themselves," Department of Public Works spokeswoman Stephanie Sample said.
Murphy's Steakhouse is located just south of the bridge and its management team is bracing for the worst.
"It's difficult to get in and get out already. The bridge is gonna be down to two lanes. It's gonna be mayhem out there. It's gonna be trucks and pipes. It would be ugly," Mary Heimer with Murphy’s Steakhouse management team said.
The prospects are so daunting that owner Craig Stonebraker has informed his customers that the restaurant is moving. It will relocate to 52nd Street and Allisonville Road, the current site of Pat Flynn's Public House.
"I think he's a good businessman. He makes a very nice meal, a very nice lunch, I'll follow the restaurant wherever they go," customer Kim Osborne said.
Preliminary utility relocation work is already underway at the bridge site. DPW officials promise the new bridge will last for generations.
Construction will cost between $3.5 million and $5 million. It is set to be finished by the summer of 2015.
Lane restrictions will be in effect until November. The last day for food service at Murphy’s Keystone location is Feb. 14.
Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas