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41st Street Bridge Construction Halted After State Balks At Price Tag

By Josh McGhee | March 8, 2017 6:35pm | Updated on March 10, 2017 11:30am
 A rendering of the 41st Street bridge.
A rendering of the 41st Street bridge.
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City of Chicago

CHICAGO — Construction of a pedestrian bridge at 41st Street and Lake Shore Drive has been put on hold.

The project was halted after the state refused to contribute an additional $2 million to the project after it came in over budget, according to the Tribune, which first reported the hold-up.

While initial estimates pegged project costs at $23.2 million, the lowest bid received in January was $28.7 million, the Tribune reported. The majority of funds, $18 million, were to come from the federal government, with the state picking up much of the rest.


“The mayor cannot blame the state for his ... mistake" in underestimating the costs, IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said in a statement emailed to the media Wednesday afternoon.

But city officials accused the state of holding up the project for political reasons and said the higher budget was typical for projects like these.

"This kind of change in the budget is quite common for unique projects of this type," Michael Claffey, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, said in an email. " ... We are concerned it’s being held up for political reasons."

Last year, the city billed the bridge as a companion to the pedestrian bridge being rebuilt for $22 million at 43rd Street and said it would give residents "a lot more access to Chicago's beautiful lakefront."

The project, which was scheduled to take 1½ years to complete, is part of a major revamp of five pedestrian bridges on the South Side.

The 41st Street bridge would have a park at its base, according to the city, and ramps for bicyclists, people who use wheel chairs and emergency vehicles.

News of the stall comes as the city prepares to repair two crumbling bridges in Uptown, a project requiring state funds.

"It would be a shame if the state continues to play politics with this money and denies the final approvals necessary to move those projects into construction," Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld told the Tribune.