Village to pay for bridge upgrades

Customized retaining walls for the entrance to the proposed pedestrian bridge would cost Hinsdale about $25,000, or so village trustees thought.

At Tuesday night’s village board meeting via Zoom, board members learned that patterning the walls after those that flank the Oak Street bridge spanning the BNSF Railroad came with an estimated $38,400 price tag due to the need for special form liners and a premium for the village’s desired stain color.

The bridge, to be constructed along the north side of 47th Street between Hinsdale and Western Springs, is part of the Illinois Tollway’s Central Tri-State expansion project. It will touch down in Veeck Park near where the skate park currently is.

The Tollway’s Nicole Nutter, senior project manager, explained that the board’s wish to have the walls in a small random ashlar facade matching the Oak Street Bridge would cost $6,400, while the work needed to achieve the same color would be $32,000 because of the application would be done by hand, she said.

But officials concluded the added cost is worth the investment. Village President Tom Cauley said he favored the added expense for something that will stand for decades.

“I think we should make it as nice as we possibly can within in reason, and $38,000 seems within reason,” he said, eliciting agreement from trustees.

Bids on the project are expected to go out in January, and village officials told Nutter to let them know if the expected cost goes up.

As for the main section of the bridge, Hinsdale and Western Springs are still trying to close their design gap as it relates to the type of fencing. Hinsdale prefers installing eight-foot metal pickets space four inches apart while Western Springs favors a galvanized chain link fence. Officials indicated Western Springs may be concerned the pickets leave openings for people to throw items onto the Tri-State.

Cauley suggested the Tollway should make the call.

“The Tollway would be in a much better position to determine what is a safe for a bridge,” he said.

Nutter replied the picket-style is just as safe as chain-link as far as the Tollway is concerned.

“It meets all standards for safety,” she commented.

The Tollway will pay to construct the bridge, with the villages jointly responsible for future maintenance or replacement. The pickets likely would need to repainted in about 25 years, costing between $60,000 and $85,000. The chain link fence, on the other hand, would need to be replaced in 25-30 years for an estimated $100,000.

“You have to replace the whole fence, you can’t just paint that,” Nutter said.

Cauley stressed that Hinsdale will not accede to paying for more than half the total cost. The Tollway is pressing the villages to come to an agreement by next week.

“The desire is to have a final decision by Thanksgiving so we can get it into design plans,” she said.

Nutter said she will attend the Western Springs Village Board meeting next week in hopes of reaching a mutually acceptable plan.

“We’re going to try to better understand what their primary concern is,” Nutter said.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean