KENWOOD — A dilapidated 75-year-old pedestrian bridge connecting Kenwood and the lakefront will be replaced with a new more accessible crossing under a plan presented by the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Residents have been promised the bridge would be replaced since at least 2009.
On Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced a measure that would authorize the city to acquire Paradise Baptist Church, 1163 E. 43rd St., to make way for a new bridge that would have a larger footprint.
“The new crossing at 43rd Street will provide a safe and [wheelchair]-accessible pedestrian crossing over Lake Shore Drive, linking a new neighborhood park on the west side to the lakefront on the east,” Emanuel said. “This is an important project in our Building a New Chicago infrastructure investment program that will improve the pedestrian connections for the North Kenwood–Oakland neighborhood.”
In 2009, residents were promised a $16 million curved suspension bridge that would snake over Lake Shore Drive to connect Kenwood and Oakland to the lakeshore, with a companion bridge at 41st Street. Both bridges were dependent on federal funding being secured.
Both bridges were part of a larger plan for the south lakefront that included the 31st Street harbor, new revetments along the shoreline and several landscaping and tree-planting projects.
The new bridge is expected to cost $22 million, but it is unclear whether the original design by Cordogan Clark and Associates will be revived.
A representative from the city transportation department did not respond to requests for comment.
The 2009 plan also called for the city to acquire and demolish the church.
During a Thursday visit, it was unclear whether the building was still in use, and calls to the church were not returned.
Work is expected to start on the new bridge in 2015 and be completed by 2016.
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