WICKER PARK — The century-old bridge that once spanned Ashland Avenue will make the trek to Western Avenue Saturday in the big next step for Chicago's highly anticipated Bloomingdale Trail.
"It's going to be quite a spectacle," said Beth White, director of The Trust for Public Land's Chicago office.
The bridge, which was lifted from Ashland Avenue at the end of March, will begin a slow, parade-like journey to its new home over Western Avenue some time after 5:30 a.m. Saturday and arrive about 8:30 a.m.
Sidewalks will be open for those who want to watch it crawl by at 5 mph south along Ashland Avenue then west on North Avenue before heading to Western Avenue and ending near 1800 N. Western Ave.
Parking will also not be allowed along the affected sections of the streets starting at 4 a.m. Saturday, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. This includes Ashland between Cortland Street and North Avenue, North between Ashland and Western avenues, and Western between North and Moffat Street.
The route will be closed to traffic as the bridge moves, though Western will continue to be closed until about midnight Sunday as the bridge placement is finished.
The bridge will be carried by special heavy-duty equipment and flanked by work crews.
"It’s really the most incredible thing to watch," White said.
Once in place, it will be a connector for the 2.7-mile trail, which is part of the $91 million 606 project spanning the Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park neighborhoods.
"It's such an important milestone for the project," White said.
The bridge that was once over Western Avenue, also about 100 years old, was demolished in March.
“The kind of adaptive reuse seen in the Ashland/Western bridge replacement is one the hallmarks of the project, which is focused on being both environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.
The trail, built on an old elevated rail line, will run along Bloomingdale Avenue from Ashland to Ridgeway avenues. The 606 and Bloomingdale Trail are expected to be finished by this fall.
More information about construction of the 606 is available on the project's website.