ODOT Opens Historic Bridge in the Capital City
Columbus (Thursday, July 10, 2014) – Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray joined Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, officials from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Committee, and community activists and neighbors of Columbus’ Near East Side to open the new Long Street bridge cap over Interstate 71. The bridge features a new 240-foot Cultural Wall that celebrates the people and the accomplishments of the King Lincoln and Discovery District neighborhoods the bridge links.
The Cultural Wall is the first of its kind in an ODOT project. The wall features art by veteran Columbus photographer and artist Kojo Kamau and mixed media artist and wood carver Larry Winston Collins, who is also an associate professor at Miami University of Ohio.
Wray said ODOT worked with the artists and the community for their input on the Cultural Wall project, which will help link the King Lincoln and Discovery District neighborhoods.
“This section of Interstate 71 was constructed in the early 1960's. Some say the construction of the Interstate divided or separated the King Lincoln neighborhoods from the Discovery District and downtown Columbus. It is hoped that his new bridge and this Cultural Wall will help reconnect and rebuild the area once again,” Wray said.
The $7 million 263-foot long bridge itself includes a cap that can provide for commercial economic development opportunities in the future, according to Wray.
“The cap is built so that if a developer comes forward in the future, buildings can be placed on top of the cap similar to what is over Interstate 670 at High Street in the Short North,” Wray said.
Wray said the Long Street bridge and the Cultural Wall are part of the $200 million Interstate 71/Interstate 670 Columbus Crossroads Project. Construction started in September 2011. The Long Street Bridge is one of 22 new bridges that were built.
The project website, www.odot71670.org
features biographies of all those honored on the Long Street Cultural Wall.