Spring 2018 – Chicago, IL
Have you ever wondered what it takes to successfully transport a pedestrian bridge? Once the initial concepting is complete and the beams and individual pieces are engineered and fabricated, they are then moved from the manufacturer to the construction site. The $27.8 million 41stStreet bicycle and pedestrian bridge was manufactured by F.H. Paschen, an Alberici Enterprise. Once constructed, Sunset Transportation reached out to Bennett Motor Express for transportation and logistical expertise to complete this massive task.
Planning The Route
Due to the scale of this project, detailed route planning is imperative. It took Bennett dispatcher, Billy Christian, approximately two months to plan the entire route. The route began in St. Louis, MO, running through rural Illinois Interstates, to the heavily populated Chicago Metro area. Planning this multi-trip project also required obtaining the proper permits, which was critical to the transport’s success. Designated drivers, Danny and Jerry, would make a total of eight trips transport the structural steel arches used to support the bridge.
This particular bridge is designed to span across Lake Shore Drive, which also means parts of various roadways in Chicago were closed for several hours over the course of three days for a single trip. The entire pedestrian bridge weighs in at 676 tons. Each piece hauled by Bennett drivers, just for one trip alone, weighed in at 81,000 lbs. (or 40.5 tons). The transport included three civilian escorts and three police escorts per load to ensure a safe and successful transport.
Making The Transport
In all, there are eight transports; each following a similar four-day timeline. Once all the necessary permits, routing, drivers and escorts were in place for this particular trip, the bridge sections left St. Louis, MO and went straight to Gilman, IL. From the staging yard, it was transported directly to the job site in Chicago. The last bridge sections will arrive three-four days later, pending weather and road conditions.
Danny and Jerry transported the sections along parts of I-270, Illinois Highways 255, 111 and 140, as well as I-55, I-72 and I-57. Additionally, they traveled along U.S. Route 30, Illinois Route 394 to I-94, landing them at Stoney Island Ave. From there, they transported the bridge pieces to Cornell Drive, then to 57thStreet, and ultimately to its final destination at Lake Shore Drive.
Enhancing Chicago’s Southside
Upon completion, the bridge will connect the Bronzeville neighborhood with Burnham Park. The new pedestrian bridge will stretch between Williams-Davis Park and Oakwood Beach along the south end of Lake Shore Drive. When finished, the S-shaped bridge will be fully accessible, complete with bicycle and wheelchair ramps. Emergency vehicles will also use the bridge to get to and from the lakefront more efficiently.
The 41stStreet pedestrian bridge has an estimated completion date of late 2019. It is the second of three planned pedestrian bridges coming to Chicago’s Southside, following the 35th Street bridge, which opened in November of 2016.
Bennett Motor Express brings safety best practices and heavy haul expertise to some of the largest over-the-road transports in the U.S. For more information on Bennett’s heavy haul services, visit www.bennettig.com/heavyhaul