|What the roadway lights on top|
of the bridges will look like
Contractors have until July 6th to turn in their bids for the task of repairing and rehabbing the bridges. We hope that means work will be able to get underway by late summer.
There are no pretty renderings to show what the bridges will look like after completion, and we don't have a lot of experience reading architectural specifications. While a prettier appearance would be a good thing (and let's face it, it would be difficult to make the bridges any more unattractive), the most crucial part is safety for everyone who goes under or over these dilapidated bridges. We hope to never have to post again that a 15' chunk of concrete has fallen onto the sidewalks or driving lanes.
|structural defects mapped on the underside of the Wilson bridge|
|Dedicated pedestrian and bike lanes under the Wilson bridge|
A friend who is an avid cyclist points out another safety hazard caused by the current design of the bridges: There is no safe way for bikes to get from Uptown to the Lakefront Path. This problem will be solved by the revamped design.
The next step in the process is the bids being opened and read on July 6th. We don't know how long it takes for a contractor to be awarded the contract(s), and how long after that the work will begin. But this is the closest we've been to real progress happening.
This isn't a band-aid like painting the bridges white prior to an aldermanic election, or putting up support pillars in the median to strengthen the roadway above. This is a sign that actual structural dangers are being addressed. Finally.
The next time a list of Illinois' most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridges is announced, let's aspire to Uptown not being included on it.