Pedestrian bridge doubled in cost

Pedestrian bridge doubled in cost

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

On April 21, local officials celebrated the opening of the Riverside pedestrian bridge, which strangely cost twice as much as originally estimated in 1993.

Jim Reid, senior manager for the Rockford Park District, which carried out the project, said that engineering officials for the Illinois Department of Transportation made the bridge work more costly and take longer because safety rules changed.

The bridge was estimated at $750,000 and wound up costing $1.7 million. The bridge was paid for with Rockford Park District funds (20 percent) and a TEA-21 grant (Transportation Enhancement Act-21st Century, (80 percent).

The 12-foot-wide, 800-foot-long bridge starts with a ramp in Martin Park, goes across the river on the west bank and then extends up to the stoplight at Riverside Boulevard Bridge.

Ron Chamberlain, IDOT’s local roads field engineer for Winnebago County, said it just took so much time to get designed and meet funding requirements. He said, “It’s a major bridge, so you have to do a little more.”

Chamberlain said that when preparing an estimate, planners assume the project will cost about that much. But when going out for bids, it often changes. “You had one year’s worth of inflation,” he stated. He said he isn’t aware of any other reasons for the lengthy time and cost.

Jim Reid, senior manager of the Park District, said, “That’s his answer.” He indicated the IDOT “came up with new criteria. The criteria was modified or changed. Our engineers locally had to answer the questions that were brought forth from IDOT’s review process.”

Reid said that in a sense, Chamberlain is correct because the funding does get a little more expensive after the bidding process.

“When you get into a project, things do get more expensive because you more fine-tune the scope of the work,” Reid noted. “A lot of times you find things that make it more expensive. That’s pretty universal in the construction industry.”

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