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.