CITY HALL — The Plan Commission signed off on a pair of South Side bridges Thursday, including a new 1,472-foot serpentine pedestrian bridge across Lake Shore Drive at 41st Street.
The $24 million bridge, paid for with state and federal funding, has been projected to start construction next spring and be completed in by the end of 2017.
It will join the new William Davis Park west of the drive in Oakland with the Lakefront Trail east of the drive in Burnham Park, as well as providing access to the new Oakwood/41st Street Beach.
The design has the bridge snaking its way across the Metra train tracks and the drive with the help of a pair of arches aiding in suspension that alternate on either side of the bridge.
Although designed for pedestrians and bikes, at 20 feet wide it will also accommodate ambulances and police cars in emergencies.
Melanie Moore, director of policy for Friends of the Parks, testified that the group "wholeheartedly supports" the project.
Terrance Diamond, attorney for the Department of Transportation, which is handling the projects, said that group had also added a "lovely letter" in support.
"This has been a long time coming," said architecture aficionado and South Side resident Butler Adams.
It passed without opposition, as did a bridge to be reconstructed just to the north at Oakwood Boulevard and Lake Park Avenue. That roadway bridge will have its span across the train tracks replaced.
The $14 million project is also being paid for through state and federal funding, but for the most part will simply replace the bridge that's already there, constructed in 1931.
"The bridge will remain pretty much the same," said Noah Szafraniec of the Department of Planning and Development, which endorsed both projects.
Adams decried the "deplorable condition" of the bridge as it stands.
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