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Bloomingdale Trail: Bridge Over Ashland Removed Ahead of Schedule

By  Alisa Hauser and Emily Morris | March 31, 2014 12:30pm 

 A section of the bridge at Ashland and Bloomingdale avenues was removed during the weekend.
The 606: Bridge Removed Near Ashland and Bloomingdale
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WICKER PARK — Work was completed Saturday ahead of schedule on the removal of a century-old bridge over Ashland Avenue, one of the lastest projects paving the way for the upcoming Bloomingdale Trail.

"It was weird not to be walking under anything," said Donna Woszczak, a commuter who was on her way to work in Old Town after getting off at the Clybourn Metra station early Monday.

The unused bridge was removed because the Bloomingdale Trail, a 2.7-mile elevated walking, jogging and cycling path that will run through four Chicago neighborhoods, will end at Ashland.

A post on the 606 Facebook page let residents know that work finished early on the bridge, and Ashland Avenue was opened to cars at 3 p.m. Saturday. Work was slated to be finished by 5 a.m. Monday.

Woszczak, who grew up in Bucktown in the 1950s and 1960s but now lives in Palatine, said she was so interested in seeing the missing bridge that she walked down Ashland to take the North Avenue bus rather than the Armitage bus.

Woszckak said she has been following the project closely and "can't wait" for The 606 project to be complete so she can come back to the city and have a reunion with her girlfriends, a walking get-together on the trail.

John Figueroa, a worker at Chopper's fast food restaurant at 1659 N. Ashland Ave, just south of where the bridge was, said "it's better the bridge is off, it was useless."

Figueroa also said it was strange not to see the bridge anymore and "very weird" to see Ashland Avenue completely closed on Saturday as crews worked.

Business was slow at Chopper's before the street was reopened, though some customers made it to the restaurant on foot, Figueroa said.

The project began in August and, if all goes as scheduled, the trail and adjacent parks will be ready for use in the fall.

The bridge that was formerly over Ashland will then be moved into place at Western during the weekend of April 18-20, according to The 606 Facebook page.

The new repurposed bridge at Western will replace the bridge demolished earlier in the month.

For weekly updates about the project, visit the606.org/category/newsforneighbors/.