Pedestrians walking, biking, roller blading or otherwise traveling east on the Great Western Trail in Lombard face a dilemma when they reach Grace Street.
Obstacles in the form of two streets and the Union Pacific railroad make it more difficult than usual to follow the path.
A plan to build three bridges for the trail over Grace Street, St. Charles Road and the Union Pacific tracks will be moving forward with a few design changes after receiving Lombard Village Board approval Thursday night.
"It will help the quality of life," for families who want to trust their children will be safe when using the trail, Trustee Laura Fitzpatrick said. "Getting over that crossing is one of the biggest hurdles for a pedestrian or biker."
The board unanimously approved a change to the bridge plan's design engineering contract, a contract with a firm to oversee construction and a deposit payment to ComEd to support the cost of moving power lines affected by the project.
The changes add architectural enhancements consistent with Lombard's downtown plan, including placement of the village's logo on bridge walls and surface texturing of walls beside the trail. Railings and fences will be enhanced from the original design and a water main owned by the DuPage Water Commission will be protected.
But the design upgrades don't change the purpose of building the three bridges, which is to improve access to the Great Western Trail and increase its use, said David Dratnol, Lombard's village engineer.
"Right now, the trail users have to exit the line of the trail" to continue east at Grace Street, Dratnol said. "It's an inconvenience, and quite frankly, it's a safety concern."
The village so far has allocated about $2 million toward design engineering, construction oversight and ComEd power line relocation, but a complete construction cost estimate is not yet available.
The next step toward constructing the bridges will take place in September, when the Illinois Department of Transportation will open bids and choose a contractor to complete the project, Dratnol said.
IDOT is in charge of the bidding process because the project received some funding from the federal Surface Transportation Program.
Trustee Zachary Wilson said he thinks the project is too costly and may not be necessary. But when he learned it had the support of the other five trustees, he decided not to remove the issue for a separate vote, but to approve it on the board's consent agenda.