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Work to Begin On Pedestrian Bridge Project

Officials say walkway will increase connectivity, provide safer pedestrian access. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, although a start date has not yet been set.

After years of planning, construction is scheduled to begin this summer on a walkway to give pedestrians safer access to the Lockport Street Bridge and connect the downtown business district with , , Riverfront Park and the PACE bus stop on Village Center Drive.

On Monday, trustees voted to award a $1,073,237.90 contract to D Construction for the project, which will widen the existing bridge’s narrow walkway and extend it along the south side of Lockport Street from James Street all way the way to Countryman Drive, just south of Village Hall. Slated to be completed by the Dec. 1, the project is funded by a grant from the state’s Build Illinois bond fund.

The board also authorized the use of up to $115,000 in Motor Fuel Tax funds to pay for construction engineering.

Director of Public Works Allen Persons said the walkway will make the downtown area more accessible and safer for pedestrians.

“It is a challenge for pedestrians to cross that area,” he said, citing the existing bridge’s narrow walkway and the heavy volume of traffic. Persons estimated 18,000 cars travel over the bridge every day.

“Pedestrians have to compete with vehicles,” he said.

Once completed, the 192-foot-long bridge will boast a 10-foot-wide walkway, a decorative safety railing to protect pedestrians from traffic and a DuPage River overlook at the center of the bridge. The walkway will connect with existing downtown sidewalks and will comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, making it possible for individuals using wheelchairs to access the bridge.

Decorative street lighting, which added $250,000 to the project, will also be included, lighting the path from Main Street to Village Center Drive. The lighting will match the decorative streetlights used in the downtown streetscape project, said Randy Jessen, Plainfield’s superintendent of public works.

Persons said the village has already received $300,000 of the more than $1 million state grant. The state will make additional payments as work progresses on the bridge, he said.

The Lockport Street Bridge is not new to contractor D Construction, Persons said. The Coal City-based company built the original bridge in the early 1990s, along with the Route 59 and Route 30 bridges.

The pedestrian walkway joins another long-awaited bridge project; construction is currently under way on a new . Like the walkway, the Renwick Road Bridge is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

Persons said the pedestrian walkway project start date will depend on how quickly construction materials ordered by the contractor arrive.

“This has been literally years in the making, and we are really excited,” he said of staff. 

JPM June 19, 2012 at 12:10 PM
The bridge pedestrian improvement is a good first step, but how about access between the south side of Lockport and the businesses on the north side such as Larry's, Southern Belle, the Tap House, etc? The infrastructure between those businesses is not pedestrian friendly at all.
silentrippy June 19, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Yet another meeting goes by and Dan Rippy was the only trustee at the meeting who didn't have a thing to say. Serving the voters of Plainfield with silence.
holeinone June 19, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Do we really need to spend tax money on this? Why not a parking ramp downtown to help the local buisness get more customers.......really
Amy nowocin June 19, 2012 at 01:58 PM
We live in liberty grove will they ever make it safer for people to ride their bikes to the downtown area? If we could ride our bikes we would spend time downtiwn but right now it's just not safe
holeinone June 19, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Ok so we can spend years of planning and over $ 1,000,000 on a bridge that a few people will use to go downtown. Not what we need. We need lots of people that come downtown for dinner, drinks, to patronize the business and spend money. Make it easier for them, build parking ramps, get rid of some of the stop signs so you can actually get around downtown. Great city planners, thats why we keep losing resturants..no one can get to them.
Ed Arter June 19, 2012 at 05:43 PM
@ hole 1 -- Ramp? Where?? Cost?
Kevin S June 20, 2012 at 10:32 PM
So who can "actually get around"? People in cars? The vision for downtown has been to create a walkable business district for people to enjoy. So far, the village planners have done a beautiful job, in my opinion. The stop signs and tabled intersections are meant to discourage people from driving through there if downtown is not their destination. While I'm enjoying one of the many beautiful sidewalk cafes I appreciate the fact that unencumbered traffic is not whizzing by on the way to the hwy. And by the way, the only restaurants we have lost in the downtown district were closed because of their business practices. Bacci was run down and lacked quality, Finnegans put themselves out of business, and Big Daddys was a joke from day one. There are numerous other establishments who have been thriving downtown for many years and are even better now that the area is improved and more walkable. I have no idea where a parking ramp would fit into this district, how much it would cost or who would pay for it. Do you?
CYNTHIA KULEKOWSKIS August 03, 2012 at 03:33 PM
The site of the old firehouse could be a possible parking structure if not just a big parking lot. Restaurants will come and go depending on their management-I agree with that. We need a major name like rosebuds or something to hit downtown and bring their loyal clientele. As for visual, I wish there was some sort of continuity to the business facades. Awnings, fresh paint jobs, etc... I look forward to the day when all the construction is done in downtown and traffic flow isn't impeded with closed lanes.

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