Higgins Road bike bridge construction starts Monday

Construction will begin Monday, July 8, on the long-awaited bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Higgins Road in Busse Woods east of Route 53.

And perhaps equally welcome news to the bike trail's many summertime users is that they won't be hindered by the construction — if at all — until its last stage next winter.

“There should be no effect on them at all,” said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson, a cycling enthusiast himself.

A third piece of good news is that construction bids came in much lower than anticipated, bringing the total cost of the project — including engineering — to $2.8 million, Johnson said.

Elk Grove Village has agreed to pay 20 percent of the cost, originally estimated at $700,000 but actually about $450,000, he said.

The cost reduction is partly due to the low bids and partly due to the village's practice of being conservative in its cost estimates, Johnson added.

Though Elk Grove Village has long been committed to seeing the project through, Johnson had high praise for U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam's securing of $450,000 in federal grant funding for the engineering.

“Without all that, we wouldn't be in a position to get this built,” Johnson said.

The bridge construction is targeted for completion in April 2014, but Johnson is hopeful it could be done even earlier than that.

The new bridge will largely resemble the one built in the mid-90s that spans Higgins Road just west of Arlington Heights Road, he said.

Safety has long been the goal of the proposed bridge — a goal whose urgency was underscored in May when experienced bicyclist Rosaleen Waters, 46, of Elk Grove Village was fatally struck by a car while crossing Higgins Road at the future site of the bridge.

When the bridge is completed, bicyclists and pedestrians will have a much more carefree experience as they enjoy the natural beauty of Busse Woods.

“They can do the entire bike path without crossing an arterial road,” Johnson said.

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