UTICA, IN (WAVE) - The East End Bridge is one step closer to officially being named.
Lawmakers unanimously approved (in a 91-0 vote) a resolution to name it the Lewis and Clark Bridge, after the famed explorers, in the Indiana House on Thursday.
The resolution urges the Indiana Department of Transportation and Governor Mike Pence to sign off on the new name for the bridge that will span between Utica, Ind. and Prospect, Ky. and is scheduled to be open by the end of 2016.
"This has been a process, and really an expedition and a journey in and of itself to get to this point," Rep. Steve Stemler, a Democrat from Jeffersonville, said.
It's not every day, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark show up to the Indiana house floor. But they did Thursday.
"Dressed in period clothing they gave a great historical perspective on their travels and history of their expedition and the importance of where it started," Stemler said.
Stemler authored a resolution to name the new east end bridge after the American explorers, who started their expedition in Clark County, despite what anyone else may think.
"It is important to let folks know that the Lewis and Clark Expedition began in Clarksville, Indiana," Rep. Terry Goodin, a Democrat from Austin, said.
"As people from all over the country come across this bridge and pass through, they are going to see Lewis and Clark and they are going to say 'Gee, I thought it started in St. Louis, I'm going to have to find out what happened in Indiana,'" Rep. Matt Pierce, a Democrat from Bloomington, said.
Several Southern Indiana lawmakers joined as co-authors.
"Lewis and Clark would also tie together the two states (and) would be the same for this second Ohio River Bridge," Rep. Ed Clere, a Republican from New Albany, said.
Stemler says like the Lincoln Bridge, all wanted the name to have a connection to the Bluegrass and Hoosier states.
"They got nine additional men from the Jefferson County area in Kentucky and set off on their expedition for three years, and then returned," Stemler said.
He doesn't think there will be any confusion when it comes to the new bridge and the Clark Memorial Bridge named after George Rogers Clark, William's older brother.
"We feel confident there will be proper markings and this will really dovetail well in with the Lewis and Clark trail that we are promoting from a tourism and regional standpoint, so they all should really compliment each other and our message," Stemler said.
On Friday, the Senate Roads Committee will review the resolution and it could possibly go to the full Senate on Monday. It is expected to pass.
The resolution will be voted on by the Indiana Senate on Monday, March 7.