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Plans under way for Bloomingdale Trail construction

August 27, 2013 5:45:24 AM PDT
City accepts $53.7 million bid to build the 2.7-mile trail and improve 40 railway viaducts railway.

The Chicago Department of Procurement Services and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced today that Walsh Construction Company II LLC was awarded the contract to build the Bloomingdale Multipurpose Trail and Park, as the firm was the lowest bidder in a recent construction bidding process.

Walsh's bid of $53.7 million was the lowest of three bids submitted to the City earlier this summer, and was more than $5.2 million lower than the next lowest bid. The other bidders were F.H. Paschen/S.N. Nielsen & Associates LLC and The Lane Construction Corporation.

"The Bloomingdale Park and Trail will be one the most distinct and user-friendly open spaces to be developed anywhere in the country," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "I am pleased that this project continues to make progress, and I look forward to the start of construction this summer."

The construction contract includes the rehabilitation of the viaducts and retaining walls, as well as removing the railroad tracks and converting the railway to a multi-use path. CDOT will oversee the construction of the linear park, which will be open to visitors by the end of 2014. Construction is expected to begin by the end of the month.

Nearly $50 million in U.S. Department of Transportation Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funds have been approved for this construction phase of the project. The remainder of the total project development cost is being raised through a partnership of the City, Cook County, the Park District, and the Trust for Public Land, the nation's leading organization focused on creating parks and preserving land.

Planned for the top of an abandoned, 2.7-mile Canadian Pacific Railway viaduct between Ashland and Ridgeway Avenues, the linear park will be managed by the Chicago Park District. CDOT will maintain the viaduct's walls and bridges and the Park District will maintain the trail and 13 acres of open space planned for the top.

The century-old viaduct, which runs adjacent to Bloomingdale Avenue, ceased to be used for regularly scheduled rail operations in 2001. Its redevelopment as a linear park and trail will build on the City's legacy for innovative open spaces by linking four ethnically and economically diverse Chicago communities (Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Logan Square) and five neighborhood parks.


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