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posted: 9/4/2014 5:30 AM

Mt. Prospect gauging interest in bike/pedestrian bridge over Northwest Highway

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The village of Mount Prospect has reached out to several other local governments to see if there's interest in building a bike/pedestrian bridge over Northwest Highway.

As envisioned, the bridge would connect Melas Park, which sits south of Northwest Highway, with Meadows Park on the north side.

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Village officials believe it would be possible to secure federal grant money to cover most of the project's cost, which is estimated to be more than $3 million. First, though, some preliminary engineering needs to be done, officials said.

"Completing the engineering would help our chances when it comes to the grant," Mount Prospect Public Works Director Sean Dorsey said. "So we're asking the other involved parties to see if they're interested in putting together some seed money for that work."

The other parties are the village of Arlington Heights, the Arlington Heights Park District and the Mount Prospect Park District. Melas Park, located on Central Road, is jointly operated by the two park districts, and it sits near the border between the two villages.

The estimated cost for preliminary engineering would be about $110,000, to be split among the participating governments.

"We hope we can get some firm direction from everyone by the end of the year," Dorsey said.

Mount Prospect Park District leaders discussed the idea at a recent meeting. Executive Director Greg Kuhs said the park board sees some benefits to the project, but decided to discuss the matter further at a meeting in October.

"We're going to see how this would fit in with our overall capital improvement plan," Kuhs said.

The idea of a pedestrian bridge spanning Northwest Highway, and the nearby Union Pacific railroad tracks, has been part of Mount Prospect's long-term plans for several years. The current concept would locate the bridge west of Central Road, which meets the tracks and Northwest Highway at a busy and crowded crossing.

The bridge would provide access not just to the parks at either end, but to the adjacent neighborhoods, elementary schools and Prospect High School.

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