Pedestrians and cyclists in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood will soon have a new way to cross the railroad tracks that separate East 43rd Street from Lakeshore Drive. The city’s Department of Transportation has announced that work began to construct a bicycle and pedestrian bridge on Nov. 30. The new structure will replace an existing bridge that does not meet standards laid down by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project should take about two years to complete.
The new pedestrian and bicycle bridge will be ADA-compliant thanks to curved S-shaped access ramps designed to look like the pedestrian walkways in Burnham Park. The slope of these ramps will be gentle enough to provide wheelchair access and wide enough to accommodate emergency vehicles. During the construction process, Bronzeville residents will be able to reach Lakeshore Drive and Burnham Park via the recently completed bicycle and pedestrian bridge at 41st Street or the 43rd Street underpass.
The new bridge is one of five such structures the city ordered to connect the lakefront to the South Side. Three of the projects have already been completed. A bicycle and pedestrian suspension bridge at 35th Street opened in late 2016, and a motor vehicle bridge spanning railroad tracks at 39th Street and Oakwood Boulevard opened in 2020. According to CDOT, work on the final bridge at 31st Street should begin in late 2021.
Foot and bicycle bridges like this one are built to protect vulnerable road users and prevent pedestrian accidents. When pedestrians are struck by negligent drivers, experienced personal injury attorneys may pursue compensation for them by filing lawsuits on their behalf. These lawsuits could seek damages for their medical bills, pain and suffering and income they lost while they were injured and unable to work.