Joliet plans to replace two local bridges, including one that is 108 years old.
The city will begin engineering for replacement bridges at Essington Road over Rock Run Creek and Garnsey Avenue over Spring Creek.
The Essington Road project includes plans for a hiking-and-biking trail as well as a short, concrete wall to separate cars from walkers and bikers.
The Garnsey Avenue project includes plans to design a bridge that will bear some resemblance to the existing arch bridge, which was built in 1911.
Construction on both projects is expected in summer or fall of 2020, Public Works Director James Trizna said.
The Essington Road bridge, located between Theodore Street and Ingalls Avenue, was built in 1977, about the same time Louis Joliet Mall was under construction.
“We’ve had way more traffic than originally anticipated for that structure,” Trizna said. “It’s deteriorating,”
The bridge now has a weight restriction. The new bridge will include improved pathways for walkers, hikers and bikers.
“We’re going to have a sidewalk on one side of the bridge,” Trizna said. “We’re going to have a hiking-biking trail on the other side.”
The bridge is along a section of the Rock Run Greenway Trail that connects nearby Rock Run Preserve with the Theodore Marsh Preserve in Crest Hill.
Trizna said the new bridge will include a safer path for pedestrians with the addition of a concrete wall to provide a barrier between the walkways and the road. Traffic might be restricted with lane closures, but Essington Road will remain open throughout the project, Trizna said.
The bridge project is expected to cost $3 million. Funding for both bridges will be supported by federal grants, covering 80 percent of the costs. The city is just beginning Phase 2 engineering for both bridges.
The Garnsey Avenue bridge is estimated to cost $2.1 million.
The bridge over Spring Creek is located in a residential area of the East Side, between Ohio and Columbia streets.
“That’s an old concrete arch bridge,” Trizna said.
Because of the historic design in which abutments on each end are supported by concrete arches, the city will build a bridge that resembles the arch appearance without actually being an arch bridge.
Trizna said the bridge needs to be replaced because of its deterioration over time.