NOBLESVILLE, APRIL 8, 2021
Plans for reconstruction of the historic Bell Ford Bridge are well underway. The dilapidated bridge, the only remaining Combination Post Truss Bridge in the world, was acquired from Jackson County in 2018. The disassembled bridge has been sheltered in an empty wing of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office for the past two years.
“A lot has happened since we first acquired this bridge,” says Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt. “We don’t want people to think we forgot about it. Once complete, this historic bridge will really help create a distinct and special experience to all who visit Geist Park.”
Plans are to turn Bell Ford Bridge into a pedestrian bridge over Fall Creek just south of Geist Park. The City of Fishers has been busy creating the trail connections that will lead up to the bridge while the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Hamilton County Highway Department have been working to secure grant funding. A design team of local citizens being led by VS Engineering has been working to determine the bridge’s aesthetics.
“The bridge will be reconstructed in the same style that it was first built with in 1869,” says Daniel Kurdziel, project manager. “But it will get a bit of facelift. The bridge will receive a more durable roof that mimics the original cedar shake roof and will be rebuilt with the addition of clear polycarbonate siding modeling the original open-air structure. These features will maintain the historic integrity of the original bridge while accenting and protecting the structural members that make this bridge one-of-a-kind.”
Construction on the bridge is scheduled to start in earnest in 2024, nearly 20 years after it was originally placed on the National Register of Historic Places.