Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Alderman Will Burns today celebrated new work to construct 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.
“This new bridge will open up the lakefront to more children and families of the Bronzeville community and serve as a great tribute, not just to Bronzeville’s past, but also to its future as a neighborhood on the move,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Chicago is only as strong as its neighborhoods, and we are making investments throughout our city like this new bridge in Bronzeville, that will help strengthen every neighborhood.”
The $23 million construction project is being led by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and supported by $18 million from the US Department of Transportation and $5 million from the State of Illinois.
This project is part of the City's overall investments in Bronzeville as part of the Mayor's neighborhood development strategy, Chicago Neighborhoods Now. Since the strategy launched in 2013, Bronzeville has seen $1.85 billion in planned and completed public and private investments including the Artists Lofts, a development with housing and an art incubator; the Shops & Lofts at 47, a mixed-use, mixed-income housing and retail project; a new Mariano’s grocery store; and the rehabilitation of the Rosenwald Courts apartment complex, among others.
“The new 35th Street pedestrian bridge will provide a safer, more convenient way for Chicagoans to access our world-class lakefront,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. “More than $18.6 million in federal funding has been invested in the project to increase accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and people living with disabilities. I’m pleased to join Mayor Emanuel today to get this important infrastructure project underway.”
"As one drives south on Lake Shore Drive the old 35th Street bridge served as a sad and decrepit welcoming icon of the south side," said Alderman Will Burns, 4th Ward. "This new pedestrian bridge with its ambitious design is another marker that a renaissance is happening on Chicago's south side."
CDOT is removing the existing 35th Street Pedestrian Bridge over Lake Shore Drive and the adjacent railroad tracks, and constructing a modern S-shaped suspension bridge in its place.
The new bridge will be fully ADA 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 local community to improve the overall pedestrian experience.
The new bridge, designed by engineering and design firm exp, will feature a 20-foot-wide walking surface, which will accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge will be illuminated by LED lighting in the handrails, along the suspension cables and on the center pylon.
The park space on the east side of the bridge will be landscaped with recovered stone from the old lakefront revetment, brick pavers, and a water fountain. The west plaza will serve as a gateway to the bridge and feature new benches and lighting.
Additionally, 35th Street from South Cottage Grove to Lake Park Avenue will be resurfaced, as well as Lake Park from 35th to 36th Street. A new cul-de-sac turnaround at 35th and Lake Park at the west entrance of the bridge will improve traffic flow.
The new bridge is expected to open in October 2015. During construction, work will be staged to maintain one lane of traffic in each direction and one sidewalk 35th Street from Cottage Grove to Lake Park and on Lake Park from 35th to 36th Street.
The existing bridge is now closed and will be demolished in the coming weeks. The detour for pedestrian access to the lakefront trail is at Oakwood Boulevard over Lake Shore Drive.