BUCKTOWN — Massive steel arches were installed late Sunday over the Bloomingdale Trail bridge, where the 2.7-mile elevated path crosses Milwaukee Avenue on the border of Wicker Park and Bucktown.
"The arches are in place, and crews are now working to bolt them down. Thanks for hanging in there with us this weekend. And those of you who pass Milwaukee/Leavitt during your commute are in for one heck of view tomorrow. Enjoy," the 606 organizers posted in a Facebook update Monday.
First scheduled for Saturday afternoon, the arch installation was postponed due to dangerously high winds and rescheduled to 8 a.m. Sunday.
By late Sunday afternoon, most onlookers, who had either congregated in the Aldi parking lot, 1767 N. Milwaukee Ave, or in a park at 1805 N. Milwaukee Ave.. had left for the day but stayed abreast of updates on the project's Facebook page, where photos of the arches being lifted were posted around 10 p.m. Sunday.
The Bloomingdale Trail is a 2.7-mile elevated walking, jogging and cycling path that was formerly a railroad line and passes through four Chicago neighborhoods: Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park.
Mary Tamminga and Denise Browning, longtime Wicker Park residents, were standing in the light rain and cold and viewing the arches around 7 a.m. Monday.
"It's neat the way it is constructed, architecturally. It does not look like a normal bridge," Browning said.
Tamminga added that the arches "look like a band shell."
"I think [the bridge, trail] will really enhance activity around here," Tamminga added.
Made of steel, the arches weigh 55,000 pounds and are 35 feet tall and measure nearly 98 feet long, according to Beth White, the Midwest region executive director for the Trust for Public Land, the city's leading private partner spearheading the estimated $91 million project.
The arches, though they look decorative, are also functional and will stabilize the bridge, which was recently raised by close to 3 feet.
Once the arches are installed, White said that the next step, to take place at a later date, will be removing the bridge's center pier so that the overhead arches will support the bridge and it will be easier for trucks, cars, buses and cyclists to pass underneath.
Work on the bridge at Milwaukee Avenue and Bloomingdale Street, one of three overpass bridges that crosses the trail and 38 total bridges, began in March. The project kicked off in August after more than a decade of anticipation and planning.
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