An ordinance allowing repairs and reconstruction to five pedestrian and vehicular bridges over a portion of Lake Shore Drive in the Bronzeville community got the go-ahead from the Committee on Housing and Real Estate. Some bridges, which connect neighborhoods to the lakefront, have been around since the mid-1920s. The ordinance approved yesterday includes real estate transactions and various agreements that allow the Chicago Department of Transportation to finish the bridge improvements. The entire project is scheduled to be complete by 2018, with some updates done by early 2016.

Attendance (6/17 members) – Chairman Joe Moore (50), Raymond Lopez (15), David Moore (17), Michael Scott Jr. (24), Ariel Reboyras (30), James Cappleman (46)

Start Time: 9:36

Luis Benitez and Tanera Adams from CDOT offered brief testimony, saying the arrangements allow CDOT to complete updates to the deteriorating, non-bike or wheelchair accessible bridges that stretch over Lake Shore Drive and railroad tracks. CDOT will take ownership of the bridges from the Park District, and will take over negotiations to existing easement agreements with Metra and Illinois Central Railroad. Any major structural or engineering issues will be addressed by CDOT, but graffiti abatement, snow removal, and landscaping will be handled by the Park District.

Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30) hinted at the difficulty of past projects concerning Metra and Illinois Rail, and asked whether rail companies had been cooperative. Adams didn’t answer, but laughed. Ald. Moore said her response would be on the record. Benitez took a more delicate position, saying, “It’s a challenge… We try to make sure everything we design is out of their way.”

The ordinance passed unanimously by voice vote, and will advance to the full Council on the 28th. “We want tomorrow’s meeting to be very short,” Chairman Joe Moore (49) joked.