SOUTH BEND – In South Bend, drivers are seeing some backups as they try to get in and out of downtown.
Wednesday morning, the Indiana Department of Transportation started closing some lanes of the nearly century-old Michigan Street bridge to fix cracks and crevices. The bridge is not shut down, but there are lane restrictions and will be for some time.
Previous renovations were done in 1977 and 2006.
One lane of the bridge in each direction will remain open, per the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Also, North Shore Dr. will be closed during the duration of the construction, which will stop all east-west traffic to help traffic flow.
Some say no matter how you try and relieve congestion, this project is going to test the patience of drivers.
For this weekend’s Leeper Park Art Fair, at least one bridge sidewalk will remain open for pedestrian traffic.
"We're going to have lane restrictions, but the bridge will be open throughout the entire project," said Matt Deitchley, INDOT Spokesperson.
INDOT is turning off signal lights at the intersection going east and west to stop traffic flow through the neighborhoods ... and it may help north/south traffic flow easier.
But some say no matter how you try to alleviate the congestion, this project will present a major commuting concern.
"Traffic will be backed up," said Kathy, a North Shore neighborhood resident who lives near the bridge. "People get very impatient, so I’m anticipating accidents on this corner."
She foresees the major problem will be the semi trucks.
Right now and during construction, they're not supposed to cross over the bridge.
"The semis haven't stopped coming now, and we have four lanes, but with two lanes, that will create a situation," Kathy said.
Because North Shore will be closed, a semi won't have any way to escape the bridge once they're in traffic.
Kathy knows the bridge needs a facelift, but says it's sometimes difficult to remain positive about the project.
"I suspect they won’t be finished in time for Notre Dame games," Kathy said.
Which would create a whole other mess as the city welcomes thousands to town.
INDOT understands the apprehension.
"It’s such a main artery in and out of town we want to fast track this as much as possible," Deitchley said.
Crews are hoping to have construction finished by early September, hopefully before the start of the Notre Dame football season.