Originally Published on October 13, 2021


Cline Avenue Bridge, LLC, made a larger-than-life appearance in Lowell’s 102nd Annual Labor Day parade on September 6. Carpenters Local 599 dedicated their float to Cline Avenue Bridge with a replica of three bridge piers complete with toy cars atop the foam driving deck. The Cline Avenue Bridge team followed in their safety response vehicle. Nearly 100 members of Local 599 and their families came to represent their union and this project at the longest continuously running parade in Indiana.  

Local 599 was involved in the early days of Cline Avenue Bridge construction through the end, from driving the piling to forming the footings, stems, columns, and pier caps, helping with the steel bridge renovation, forming segments, and more.  

“We felt this would be a great way to positively show the community of Northwest Indians how much the Cline Avenue Bridge benefited the lives of not just carpenters, but all the different locals, trades, and contractors from this area,” said Zachary Petroski, Carpenters Local 599 trustee/carpenter foreman for Granite Construction. “This wasn’t just a job. I’m proud to be part of rebuilding something of great importance – an iconic project that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”  

A Granite Construction truck towed the float, representing the general contractor for Cline Avenue Bridge.  

“We are thrilled to have the Cline Avenue Bridge showcased in Lowell’s Labor Day parade,” said Mike Punches, Granite project manager. “It is inspiring to see this important project celebrated within the community and we are proud of the opportunity we had to take part in its completion.”  

As a special tribute, Local 599 created a dedication on the float to honor the tradesmen who came before them and lost their lives when the original bridge collapsed during construction in 1982. They enlisted the support of Hammond Area Career Center, which has contributed many graduates to Local 599, and a group of their second-year students who inscribed the names of the fallen into a 4’ x 8’ plywood sheet using a CNC router.  

“This was an excellent opportunity for future and present construction professionals to collaborate and commemorate for the betterment of our industry,” said Scott Ciupak, Construction Technology Instructor at Hammond Area Career Center.  

The Cline Avenue Bridge float has the added distinction of winning second place in the parade competition. Entries were evaluated on theme, overall appearance, originality and creativity, music, and crowd appeal.  

“It’s always an honor to be recognized within our own community,” said Terry Velligan, general manager of operations at Cline Avenue Bridge. He continued, “Given what has happened with the pandemic, the economy, and nationwide uncertainty, the reopening of the Cline Avenue Bridge showcases how one sector of the community can unite to triumph over obstacles. It gives me great pride in the Region to be part of something bigger than ourselves that will last decades, not only as a physical structure but as an important piece of history. Local 599 and the skilled trades made this possible.”

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