A crew from the contractor hired by ComEd to remove overhead power lines to make way for the Brookfield Avenue bridge replacement work on a utility pole on the east side of Salt Creek on May 2 as a prelude to the removal work in the coming couple of weeks. | Bob Uphues/Editor

After a flurry of activity during mid-March as workers rerouted a water main and ComEd power lines under Salt Creek, there’s been little activity at the Brookfield Avenue bridge worksite for the past couple of weeks.

However, that is supposed to change this week, according to local officials and the engineer overseeing the bridge reconstruction project, which started in May 2021.

The holdup was due to ComEd waiting on the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad to issue a permit and provide a flagger so the utility company can work within 25 feet of the railroad right-of-way to remove a utility pole west of the creek south of Brookfield Avenue and take down overhead power lines.

Those power lines, which run parallel to the creek along the west bank of Salt Creek, are no longer needed since ComEd rerouted the lines by running them through a trench cut into the bed of Salt Creek in March. The village also rerouted the Brookfield Avenue water main at that time in order to provide enough room for a larger superstructure needed to support the new bridge.

A contractor hired by ComEd to perform the removal of the overhead lines and the utility pole west of the creek was onsite May 2 to begin that effort. Brookfield Village Manager Timothy Wiberg said he was told it will take ComEd about two weeks to finish that work.

Jesse Singer, the project engineer from Ciorba Group, said that in addition to removing the overhead power lines, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago must finish some sewer work on the east side of Salt Creek.

Once that’s done, said Wiberg to elected officials during an update on the project at the April 25 village board meeting, “I promise you full crews will be back out here then and work will continue in earnest.”

 Lorig Construction, the general contractor for the project will remove what remains of old bridge’s abutment footing on both sides of the creek, said Singer. They will then use a crane to drive piles into the riverbed.

“These piles are what the bridge abutments will be constructed on,” Singer said. “The abutments will start to take shape as soon as the piling work is completed.”

Wiberg also acknowledged concerns from the Brookfield Farmers Market organizers worried about the state of the village hall parking lot, where the market will be held every Saturday morning beginning June 4.

“Beginning [this week] the contractor will be out here and begin restoration work to clean up these areas,” Wiberg said. “They are aware of our schedule for the farmers market and we do intend to be cleaned up. The bridge won’t be in place unfortunately, but the parking lot and the park area adjacent to the creek will be in much better shape.”

Having experienced so many unforeseen delays, officials have been loath to announce an expected completion date for the project, which initially was supposed to wrap up by the end of 2021.

Singer said that based on the contractor’s original schedule, if there are no further delays “the bridge build should take roughly five months from the time they start driving piles.”

Wiberg assured elected officials last week that “we will get this project done in 2022.”