The pedestrian and bike bridge under the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway over the Fox River in Elgin is expected to be disassembled sometime this month, and one councilman is wondering if it can somehow be reused within the city.
The 660-foot bridge will be replaced by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority as part of the ongoing, $2.5 billion widening and improvement project for the tollway.
The parts of the 9-foot-wide bike and pedestrian bridge will be reused by the Kane County Forest Preserve District.
The new bridge, expected to open after the overhead bridge construction is completed at the end 2016, will be wider at 12 feet.
The current bike and pedestrian bridge was installed thanks to the efforts of Jack Cook, a longtime Kane County Forest Preserve commissioner and county board member who died in 2011, Councilman Rich Dunne said at the Elgin City Council meeting Wednesday.
"I would like to see that bridge, if possible, be reutilized within the city," he said.
Laurie Metanchuk, director of community affairs and environmental education for the forest preserve district, said sections of the bike and pedestrian bridge will be temporarily stored at Brunner Family Forest Preserve.
"The forest preserve district is in the process of evaluating where to reuse those sections at forest preserve district locations throughout Kane County," she said.
Work on the overall Fox River bridge project is expected to begin this month, but the work schedule has not been finalized, tollway spokeswoman Jan Kemp said. The overhead tollway will be open to traffic during construction.
Eastbound lanes of traffic will be widened first, while westbound lanes will be widened in 2015.
A remaining eastbound portion will be finished in 2016, tollway officials said.
As per an agreement with the city of Elgin, tollway officials agreed to repave roads to be used by construction crews, including Duncan Avenue and Tollgate, Airport and Trout Park roads.
Councilman Terry Gavin called the overall bridge project "a massive undertaking" whose short-term effects on local businesses remain to be seen.
"It should be a great economic development boon for the area when it's finished," he said. "I just hope it doesn't slow things down before it gets better."