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Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Governor Pat Quinn and Congressman Mike Quigley today announced the long-planned twin lakefront pedestrian bridges at 41st and 43rd Streets will be built as the result of recently approved federal funding. The project will create more than 420 jobs, while also providing safer and better access to the Lakefront for Bronzeville residents.
“These bridges are another example of how we are building a new Chicago for every neighborhood across the city,” said Mayor Emanuel. “For too long, Bronzeville has been cut off from the Lakefront. This new access will build a better future for Bronzeville, increasing jobs, educational and recreational opportunities.”
The 41st and 43rd Street bridges, which will be fully ADA accessible, are supported by an $18.76 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant approved this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Under Mayor Emanuel, Chicago has won TIGER grants in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Additional funds needed for the $42.5 million construction budget will come from various state and federal transportation infrastructure improvement programs.
“The 41st and 43rd Street bridges will open up Chicago’s treasured lakefront to the residents of Bronzeville, increasing accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists alike. The new bridge will be another example of federal funding, through the competitive TIGER grant program, making substantial improvements in Illinois’ communities. I’m pleased to join Mayor Emanuel and Rep. Quigley today to announce this important infrastructure project,” U.S. Senator Durbin (D-IL) said. “With this funding, construction of another pedestrian bridge underway at 35th Street and plans for a new bridge at 43rd Street, families in the Bronzeville and Kenwood neighborhoods will soon have easier access to one of the most cherished aspects of our city – the lakefront.”
“It’s important that our communities have equal opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the lakefront,” Governor Quinn said. “These new bridges will improve recreational opportunities and give Bronzeville residents easier access to the Lakefront Trail and nearby Burnham Park."
The new bridge at 41st Street will directly connect Lake Park Crescent, 348 new units of mixed-income housing created through CHA’s Plan for Transformation, and its neighboring park with the Oakwood/41st Street Beach, recently created as part of the Lake Michigan shoreline revetment reconstruction.
The 43rd Street Bridge will replace an existing underutilized pedestrian-only bridge originally built in 1938. The new bridge will provide improved access to Burnham Park and destinations to the south, such as Jackson Park and the Museum of Science and Industry.
“The Bronzeville Bridge project is the perfect example of how federal infrastructure investments can promote livability, expand transportation choices and connect people to the places they work, play and live,” said Congressman Mike Quigley. “TIGER grants are vital to the success of projects like this around the country, creating jobs and expanding economic growth in our local communities.”
The curving, sculptural designs of the twin bridges by Cordogan, Clark & Associates derived from a winning entry in the “Bridging the Drive” Design Competition held in 2004. The double-curved arch mono-truss structures will each form large, graceful S-curves that echo the curves of the walkways in Burnham Park.
As the bridges cross over the railroad tracks and Lake Shore Drive, a reverse horizontal curve will provide expanded panoramic views of the park, Lake Michigan, and the Chicago skyline for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the bridges. Slender and elegant arches create a curving deck that widens at its mid-spans and projects outwards to create grand balconies. As a result, the bridges will curve both horizontally and vertically, creating a dynamic urban promenade.
Both bridges will be fully accessible, and will include new plazas at either end, landscaping, drainage, lighting and traffic safety improvements. The project was developed in coordination with the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Housing Authority.
With the necessary funding in place, the Chicago Department of Transportation can begin the final design and engineering of the twin bridges this year. Construction is set to begin in early 2016, with completion in 2017.
In July, Mayor Emanuel and Senator Durbin also celebrated the start of construction on a new pedestrian bridge at 35th Street over Lake Shore Drive, which will be a modern, S-shaped suspension bridge that will replace a dilapidated structure and create a stronger and more aesthetically pleasing connection between the lakefront and the Bronzeville neighborhood.
The projects are part of the City's overall investments in Bronzeville as part of the Mayor's neighborhood development strategy, Chicago Neighborhoods Now. The projects are part of the City's overall investments in Bronzeville as part of the Mayor's neighborhood development strategy, Chicago Neighborhoods Now. Under the strategy, Bronzeville has experienced $1.85 billion in planned and completed public and private investments that also include the Shops & Lofts at 47 and a new Mariano’s grocery store. Across Bronzeville, projects are creating 2,700 permanent jobs and 12,000 temporary construction jobs and strengthening economic development and affordable housing, attracting new retail and jobs to the area.
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