ELBURN—Decades in the planning, construction is set to begin on the Anderson Road bridge as public officials put shovels in the ground on Monday.
The shovels symbolized breaking ground on the project that will provide an overpass to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Officials from all levels of government, from village to federal, gathered at the construction site near the intersection of Anderson Road and Prairie Valley Street in Elburn for Monday’s ceremony.
Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said reaching this point in the project is the result of hard work, cooperation, collaboration and compromise, along with a heavy dose of federal, county and state funding.
The project will extend Anderson Road, which currently ends at Prairie Valley Street, to Keslinger Road to the south, as well as build the bridge, which will provide an alternate to crossing the railroad tracks on Route 47 through Elburn.
Elburn Village President Dave Anderson, Lauzen, Kane County Board member/Transportation Committee Chair Drew Frasz and Kane County engineer Carl Shoedel were among those who spoke at the event.
State Rep. Kay Hatcher, ShoDeen Inc. president Dave Patzelt, Kaneland School District Superintendent Jeff Schuler and Elburn trustee Bill Grabarek were among those in attendance.
Elburn Village President Dave Anderson said he could remember when there were no bridges over what was then the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. There was just a rickety old bridge over Harley Road, he said.
The progress that the Anderson Road bridge exemplifies is the result of the foresight and cooperation of governmental partners, Anderson said.
Kane County Engineer Carl Shoedel earned a round of applause when he said that, while happy to see this progress, he will be even more excited when the road and the bridge is open to traffic, and the project is completed on time and under budget.
Martam Construction, Inc., together with Herlihy Mid-Continent Company, was awarded its $14.4 million bid on the project, approximately 25 percent less than the engineer’s original project estimate of $19.8 million.
Breaking ground this fall will give it time to freeze and thaw throughout the winter, leaving it ready for construction to begin by spring, Frasz said. He anticipates the project to be completed by late 2014 or early spring 2015.
Frasz said that there was a time in the past year when completion of the project was in question. Patzelt owned the property necessary for the right-of-way for the bridge, and annexation of this land for ShoDeen’s Elburn Station development was a prerequisite to the construction of the bridge.
But Frasz said that in the end, Patzelt and the village were able to come to an agreement on the development. He credited village trustees, and Grabarek in particular, for their careful consideration of the details of the project.
Anderson extolled the positive outcomes that will take place as a result of the bridge, including increased connectivity and accessibility to the Metra station, the industrial park and the downtown area, as well as the safety and welfare of the people within the community.
Anderson said that when the bridge is finished, a bike and pedestrian pathway will provide access to county forest preserves Elburn Woods and Johnson’s Mound.
He reflected that the project had involved generations of elected officials.
“It was all of us,” Anderson said, mentioning the Kane County Board, the Transportation Committee with Frasz’s leadership and Jan Carlson before him, former Elburn Village President Jim Willey, as well as former Speaker of the U.S. House Dennis Hastert, who brought the federal dollars home to Kane County.
“This was started before us,” Anderson said. “We were fortunate enough to be a part of it.”
The build-out of the Elburn Station development will begin once the bridge has been completed.
“The bridge will provide for the efficient movement of traffic, and will be a catalyst for positive development of the entire region,” Anderson said.
Twenty years from now, we’ll be astounded how much activity and how much traffic this bridge will have,” he added.
Photos by Patti Wilk