The Brookfield Avenue bridge over Salt Creek, which last received a major overhaul in 1986, will be replaced from the river bed up this year, resulting in a wider, more pedestrian-friendly structure. (Bob Uphues/Editor)

The long-awaited replacement of the Brookfield Avenue bridge over Salt Creek will begin soon now that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has awarded a $3,471,604 construction contract to Des Plaines-based Lorig Construction Company, which was the low bidder for the work.

That winning bid was roughly a half million dollars higher than the engineer’s $2.9 million estimate for the project. According to Brookfield Village Manager Timothy Wiberg, steel costs are what drove the higher bids.

The start date for the project initially was April 15, but now it appears work will not commence until late April or early May. IDOT scheduled a preconstruction meeting with the contractor and the village for April 20, which means work should start within a couple of weeks.

The village will hold off on closing Brookfield Avenue to traffic between the village hall driveway and Forest Avenue as long as possible, possibly until mid-May. But, once work begins, traffic will need to detour around the area until the project is complete.

Detour routes include Arden, Washington and Prairie avenues. According to the bid documents for the project, the completion date is the end of October.

However, pedestrians will still be able to cross Salt Creek during the entire construction period by using the pedestrian bridge, which is located south of Brookfield Avenue and north of the railroad tracks.

The higher-than-expected low bid has also increased what the village must pay as its share of the cost for the project. Prior to the bids being opened, the village expected its share to be about $580,000. That share will now be closer to $694,000.

Brookfield will use $600,000 in motor fuel tax funds to pay for the majority of its share. The village board approved the funds for that use at a special meeting on March 31.

The new bridge will be wider than the existing span and the entire structure will be replaced from the river bed up. The existing superstructure dates from 1916 and the deck from 1986.

When completed the new superstructure will be realigned so it’s parallel with the river and will be able to support the deck without need for a central pier, which impedes the flow of the river. 

Instead of a narrow 5-foot wide sidewalk on the north side of the bridge, the new bridge will have a 10-foot-wide walkway on its north side, with a semicircular bump-out, creating a small plaza.

A parapet wall will separate the sidewalk from traffic, and the bridge will also be equipped with decorative lighting.

Desplaines Ave. resurfacing under way

The replacement of the Brookfield Avenue bridge over Salt Creek isn’t the only bridge repair project local motorists will have to plan their trips around this spring and summer.

Beginning April 19, the Illinois Department of Transportation will commence resurfacing Desplaines Avenue from 26th Street to 31st Street, which will result in intermittent lane closures.

In addition to the pavement resurfacing, IDOT will be installing ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps at corners. However, according to press release people will have access to residences and businesses at all times during the project, which is expected to last through June.

31st St. bridge deck replacement

Also this spring and summer, IDOT is planning to reconstruct the deck of the 31st Street bridge over the Des Plaines River, which runs through North Riverside and Riverside between Desplaines Avenue and First Avenue.

During construction traffic patterns will shift and traffic will be limited to one lane in each direction, so motorists should expect delays and plan alternate routes. The project is expected to begin on May 5 with expected completion in mid-July.

The improvements are part of the state’s $33.2 billion Rebuild Illinois capital program.