Voters chose the "arched aesthetic" style of railing, pictured here on another bridge, for the new Main Street Bridge. Submitted photo

Archived Story

Main Street Bridge to get arched railing

Published 7:49pm Monday, February 11, 2013

Results are in for the look of the soon-to-be-replaced Main Street Bridge in Niles.

The overwhelming majority of nearly 200 voters chose “arched aesthetic” as their preferred style of bridge railing.

“We are looking forward to designing an exceptional bridge for a beautiful downtown,” said Jason Latham, project manager of the Main Street Bridge replacement project with MDOT.

Latham announced the results of the vote at Monday’s Niles City Council meeting.

Niles voters also said “yes” overwhelmingly to having bumpouts on the bridge. They also chose the third option for lighting, which Latham said is consistent with the existing lighting on Main Street.

Voters chose dark bronze for the bridge railing color and the warm tones for the concrete surface coating color.

Latham said a design sketch of the new bridge should be available by the end of the week at Niles City Hall. The project could begin as early as the end of the year.

Local historian Donna Ochenryder said last week she believed the “arched aesthetic” design most closely resembled the original iron “bowstring” Main Street Bridge that spanned the St. Joseph River from 1868 to 1919.

Mayor Michael McCauslin said he was happy with voter turnout and the result of the vote.

“The style of the bridge I think when it is completed will be a tremendous addition,” he said. “I am glad we got the current lighting style incorporated into the bridge so that it will carry the streetscape and the lighting completely through the bridge to the other side of the river.”

McCauslin also said the city would make sure that tubing is included — buried in the concrete of the bridge — to provide water to hanging baskets.

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