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South Elgin bridge to link two key trails
by Harry Hitzeman | Daily Herald Staff

A pedestrian bridge is being built in South Elgin at Randall and Silver Glen roads. It should be open by Thanksgiving.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/21/2009 3:25 PM

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Former President Bill Clinton once said he wanted to build a bridge to the 21st Century.

The 21st Century is here and local leaders are pleased that a pedestrian/bicycle overpass that's was in the works during the 20th Century is finally underway.

Construction on the $2.5 million overpass at Randall and Silver Glen roads in South Elgin began earlier this year and is scheduled to wrap up by Thanksgiving.

Jim Breen, director of parks and recreation at the St. Charles Park District, said the bridge will connect bikes paths that link to the Fox River Trail in South Elgin and a trail on the west side of Randall Road that runs to the Great Western Trail in St. Charles.

"It's a complete link up. It brings those two trail systems together and it allows you to cross a major highway safely," Breen said.

The bridge will be 10 feet wide to accommodate bicycles or pedestrians going either way.

State and federal grants accounted for all but $443,000, which will be shared by the St. Charles Park District and Forest Preserve District of Kane County.

Breen noted the bridge also will connect to trail along Bolcum Road that feeds into Primrose Farm Park at Bolcum and Crane roads.

"It provides safe access and it will serve neighborhoods," he said.

Kane County officials also wanted to ensure the overpass was not ugly.

For example, the support towers will not look like monolithic concrete slabs like the Illinois Prairie Path bridge over Kirk Road that opened in Batavia in the mid-1990s.

Andy Underwager, senior structural engineer for the St. Charles-based Wills Burke Kelsey Associates, said the contractor will use "rustic ashlar" concrete forms to make the concrete look like stones stacked atop one another.

"It looks regular stone but it won't deteriorate like stone or a regular retaining wall brick," Underwager said. "It will look like real stone. They'll come out and stain the pattern different colors."