Replacing the Oak Street bridge is still a year away, but the time for public comments is ending.
People have until May 15 to comment on the design of the two-lane bridge that will replace the 100-plus-year-old bridge above the BNSF railroad.
The design of the main elements of the bridge will be completed and submitted to the Illinois Commerce Commission in June.
Most likely the commission will suggest modifications, said Scott Creech of the engineering firm, HR Green Inc.
At a presentation to the Village Board April 29, Village Trustee Laura LaPlaca told the team from HRGreen and Hitchcock Design Group that they have done a very good job of going over the details of the project with the community and incorporating their suggestions.
The consultants have held at least eight meetings open to the public or with a smaller community group to discuss the project.
“The design reflects that,” LaPlaca said.
Residents made it clear they did not want a standard IDOT designed bridge, said Tim King, a principal and landscape architect with Hitchcock Design. They preferred a design with decorative columns, railings and stonework similar to the Highland train station, he said.
There will be sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, and a retaining wall on the east side, adjacent to Highland Park.
Over the summer, the firms will work on detailed plans and specifications for the construction documents. The documents will be presented to the village and the Illinois Department of Transportation in the fall.
“There’s quite a bit to be done between now and when the design plans are completed,” Creech said.
The firm and the village will have to coordinate the construction schedule with utility companies, IDOT and the ICC.
“We have to get right of way and easements for construction access,” Creech said.
Engineers expect the bidding documents will be approved by the end of the year, then put out to bid. The construction contract is scheduled to be awarded in March 2015.
“That is IDOT’s timeline,” Creech said.
He expects construction will start in May 2015 and the new bridge will open to the public in December 2015, a timeframe that is fairly aggressive, Creech said.
Some nonstructural elements, such as landscaping, will be added the following spring.
The consultants are coordinating with Hinsdale Hospital officials to make sure construction will not interfere with access to the hospital, Creech said.
The intersection of Oak Street and Chicago Avenue will be under construction for between two to four months, because the engineers determined underground stormwater detention is needed there.
Chicago Avenue will remain open to traffic, although lanes will be closed at various times, Creech said.