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South Side Pedestrian Bridges To Receive Federal Funding

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 12, 2014 7:40PM

The 35th Street pedestrian bridge could finally be renovated thanks to some federal funding. (Photo credit: Curtis Locke)

We’ve known for a while that South Side pedestrian bridges connecting neighborhoods to the lakefront don’t get the love of their North Side counterparts. That’s all set to change. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Congressman Mike Quigley, Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the acquisition of federal funding to build two pedestrian bridges along the south lakefront, at 41st and 43rd Streets.

The bridge projects, which will be fully ADA-compatible, will receive $18.76 million via a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant approved this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The balance for the $42.5 million project will come from federal and state infrastructure improvement programs.

When completed, the bridges will serve Bronzeville and Kenwood residents seeking ease of access to the lakefront. The announcement comes on the heels of previously secured federal funding for a renovation of the 35th Street pedestrian bridge. Quinn said the projects will ensure “our communities have equal opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the lakefront.”

The new bridge at 41st Street will directly connect Lake Park Crescent, a mixed-income housing development of 348 created by Chicago Housing Authority during its Plan for Transformation, with the Oakwood/41st Street Beach. The 43rd Street Bridge will replace an existing underutilized pedestrian-only bridge originally built in 1938, and provide improved access to Burnham Park and destinations to the south, such as Jackson Park and the Museum of Science and Industry.