Pedestrian bridge planned for 191st Street


Planning for another pedestrian bridge along the Monon Trail is now in the early stages.

Westfield Mayor Scott Willis announced the upcoming bridge construction to an audience of more than 140 residents during his first mayoral town hall March 21 at Wood Wind Golf Club.

Willis said the city is in the design phase for a bridge to bring the Monon Trail over 191st Street next to Grand Park. He did not discuss cost but said the intent is to have construction complete by the end of 2025.

The new bridge is in addition to a planned tunnel at 161st Street, a project that was stalled in 2021 but restarted this year. The $8.8 million tunnel is in the design phase. Willis noted safety issues at both crossings, adding that a bridge over 161st Street would cost approximately $1 million more than the tunnel. The pilings and roof for the tunnel are already in place, built in 2012 when the roundabout interchange at 161st Street and U.S. 31 was completed.

Willis said increased safety on the trails is part of his overall vision for a comprehensive trail system in Westfield, one that provides additional opportunities for travel while connecting residents to downtown.

“We’re going to try to expand our entire trail system throughout the entire city,” Willis said, adding that he would like to make trails friendly to golf carts, similar to the Midland Trace east of downtown. “I’d like to see a spider web of trials that bring people into our downtown area. It cuts down on congestion, it cuts down on the cost of road improvements, and it’s fun.”

Willis said the intention is to connect areas north and west with no direct access to trails to the existing Monon Trail and Midland Trace Trail. He added that connections downtown via the trail systems are vital for Westfield’s future.

monon trial biker
A biker on the Monon trail crosses 191st Street. (Photo by Marney Simon)

“We need living, working, playing downtown,” Willis said. “If you want your kids and grandkids to come back to Westfield after they graduate, you have to offer what they want, not what you want. And what they want is walkability. They want to walk out of their townhome or apartment, straight downstairs to the (coffee shop), walk over to the library… go shopping, grab some groceries and go back to the house. They don’t want to get in the car and drive five miles like we did. I want to create a community that not only sustains our current generation, but future generations. We can only do that by opening our minds.”

Willis’ downtown vision is part of his four-pillar plan to address public safety, transparency, growth and empowerment during his tenure. He is planning quarterly town hall meetings to discuss his vision for Westfield. The next town hall takes place at 7 p.m. June 20 at the new Westfield Washington Library. A tour of the new facility will begin at 6:30 p.m.