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New Emerson bridge next year

Illinois Department of Transportation officials told Evanston aldermen Monday that the state plans to replace the 46-year-old Emerson Street bridge across the North Shore Channel next year.

Illinois Department of Transportation officials told Evanston aldermen Monday that the state plans to replace the 46-year-old Emerson Street bridge across the North Shore Channel next year.

The state says the bridge is substandard. It has been posted with a 15-ton weight limit since 2004.

The new bridge would be wider than the existing span, with room for five-foot concrete sidewalks and five-foot bike lanes on each side as well as an extension of the westbound left turn lane across the bridge to improve traffic safety.

Kimberly Smith, the state’s senior project engineer, said IDOT has funding to carry out the project next year, though she cautioned that with state financial uncertainties the project could potentially be postponed.

State and city officials have agreed to completely close the canal crossing at Emerson during the bridge replacement, so that the work can be completed in a single construction season.

They plan to use the existing truck detour route of McCormick Boulevard to Dempster Street to Dodge Avenue for all traffic during the construction project.

The aldermen voted to approve the project and pick up the required $80,500 estimated cost of street lighting improvements at the site.

The aldermen also:

  • Gave final approval to an ordinance establishing new bike routes throughout the city.
  • Approved plans to rebuild tennis and basketball courts at Bent, Larimer and Mason parks for $400,000.
  • Approved a $154,450 consulting contract with Ross Barney Architects to study the cost of rehabbing or rebuilding the Civic Center.

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