GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- For years the Church Street Bridge has served as the gateway to Greenville and in turn, it’s felt the effects of the never-ending traffic passing through.

“Like a number of bridges in South Carolina, this one is 50 years old or older,” said Pete Poore, South Carolina Department of Transportation.

Now the thousands of Upstate residents whose daily commutes include the bridge will have to make changes, as it gets an upgrade.

Officials said the bridge’s new look will include aesthetic repairs, with plans of becoming a staple in the city’s skyline.

“Some of the things that will be done are the bridge deck will be redone, the railings and sidewalks will be retrofitted to make them safer, the west side sidewalk will be expanded out to a total of 9 feet wide,” said Poore. “There will be some painting and some aesthetics. There are a number of things planned to make this not only a functioning bridge but an attraction for downtown Greenville.”

But he said keeping the age of the bridge in mind, aside from the visual element, it will also include much-needed safety and functional repairs.

“It’s reached the end of its shelf life if you will, and it’s still safe but we want to make it safer,” said Poore.

He said while nearby residents said the project has its downsides, they are looking forward to the end result.

“I think in the long run it’ll be better for Greenville,” said Cara Doering, Greenville resident. “It might be frustrating at first but I think the outcome will be great.”

The South Carolina Department of Transportation said they have already planned out detour routes and said the construction will begin this summer, with crews mostly working at night.

City leaders said the project is estimated to last between 12 to 18 months. They said the bridge will stay open for most of that time, but it will be reduced to one lane in each direction for the entirety of the project.

Inevitably many changes will come for businesses and people who reside in nearby apartments; therefore, council members are urging project leaders to notify residents ahead of time of the hours’ construction will take place.