A plan to replace the Brookfield Avenue bridge over Salt Creek that’s been in the works for three years will move into the design phase next year, with construction now slated to begin in summer 2019.

At a special public meeting prior to the village board’s Sept. 25 meeting, officials also indicated that the cost estimate for the bridge replacement has increased by almost $1 million.

Back in October 2014, the bridge replacement was estimated at about $1.5 million. But on Sept. 25, the cost for replacing the bridge, not including engineering costs, was estimated to be $2.4 million.

The village is not on the hook for the entire amount. Some 80 percent of the cost will be funded through a federal bridge rehabilitation grant. The village’s share of the cost is 20 percent, or about $480,000.

Brookfield officials gave the green light for the bridge replacement back in 2014, after the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) downgraded the bridge’s condition to “poor,” allowing it to become eligible for federal grant funding.

Prior to the rating downgrade on October 2014, IDOT already had limited loads crossing the bridge to 22 tons and required that it be inspected annually. Although the bridge deck itself isn’t that old – it was replaced in 1986 – the piers supporting the bridge deck are 101 years old.

On Sept. 25, Joseph Attanaseo, the project engineer for Ciorba Group, the firm hired back in 2014 to manage the bridge replacement, said the century-old superstructure of the bridge continued to deteriorate.

Plans unveiled on Sept. 25 showed the new bridge deck will be wider in order to accommodate bike lanes in either direction. In addition, on the north side of the bridge, the pedestrian sidewalk will be separated from the street by a barrier, and a section of the bridge overlooking the river to the north will be bumped out about seven feet to allow people to linger and enjoy the view.

The new plans also call for the jog in the roadway west of the bridge to be straightened slightly, and roadway itself will rise about two feet to accommodate larger beams spanning the river.

The larger support beams are necessary because plans also call for the removal of the center pier, which means the bridge will have a clear span across Salt Creek, eliminating a choke point for debris, the ongoing worry about water eroding a central support feature and the cost for maintaining it.

Attanaseo said the design phase of the project will continue through 2018 and that construction tentatively is expected to begin in July 2019. The roadway between Forest Avenue and village hall will be closed completely until the project’s completion in November 2019.

Traffic, including Pace buses, will be detoured to Washington Avenue along Arden and Prairie avenues during construction, although the pedestrian bridge across Salt Creek south of Brookfield Avenue will remain open.

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