There will be sculptures honoring Paul Laurence Dunbar, the Wright brothers and Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Washington on two of the bridge’s piers that will face the recreation trails on either river bank.
A poem by Dunbar is inscribed on the eastern wall of the bridge.
“Bing has been going to see the progress and he seemed really happy to see how this first one turned out,” Gruner said.
Eagle Bridge Company is the contractor.
Gruner said Eagle Bridge will be done with the piling and footers, the parts of the bridge that go underground, and are at water level, by this fall. They have completed the foundation for the two eastern-most piers.
The new Third Street Bridge will be widened from four to five lanes and offer 10-feet-wide sidewalks on the north side and 17-feet-wide paths on the other side.
More than 15,000 cars travel on the bridge every day, county officials said.
The project will replace the original foundation of the bridge. The bridge originally was built in 1904. It underwent a major rehabilitation in 1949 and required emergency repairs in 2010 and 2011. Officials said at the time the bridge was not at risk of collapsing.
Funding for the project came from local, state and federal agencies such as the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. ODOT is funding 95% of the Third Street bridge project through the Local Major Bridge Program.
Vehicular and pedestrian traffic has been redirected to Fifth Street during construction.
MORE: Third Street bridge to include art, will seek to heal divide
Erik Collins, director of Community and Economic Development for Montgomery County, said the county has tried to reach out to the businesses in the area that might be affected by the closure of the Third Street bridge.
Collins said the county has held public forums and worked with the city of Dayton and Wright Dunbar Inc. to offer information and resources to businesses in that area. Collins said he has not gotten any calls from businesses, so he thinks those businesses may already know about the resources Montgomery County could connect them to or that they don't need help.
Collins also said that any businesses in that area who are impacted by the coronavirus could contact the office of the CARES Act and see if they are eligible for financial help there.
Those who normally travel the bridge can check for updates on Montgomery County's website.