Nine years after the idea became public, the pedestrian bridge over La Grange Road near 142nd Street in Orland Park could finally open later this month.
Village manager Paul Grimes isn’t pinning down an exact date yet.
The opening date is the “million dollar question” that the Illinois Department of Transportation will have the final say on, Grimes told the Village Board’s Parks and Recreation Committee.
“They will reinforce the concrete to connect the apron leading up to the actual bridge,” Grimes said. “That’s going to happen in the next week or two. After that, they should be able to open it. There is nothing listed under their work plan that should preclude them from opening the bridge.
“Please keep in mind that the bridge is going to be open for a couple of months, then IDOT will have to come in as a part of their road construction project … we’re hoping when they close it, it will coincide with the winter months so that the impact won’t be so bad. The timing issue sounds great on paper but we can’t guarantee it. But we do anticipate the bridge will be open in the next couple of weeks. Our fingers are crossed.”
The pedestrian bridge serves two purposes.
One purpose is that it will connect a bikeway that starts at Lake Sedgewick on the southwest side of the village and goes through the northeast portion of the village all the way through to the Turtlehead Lake Forest Preserve and Palos Heights beyond.
The other purpose is that it connects the Orland Crossing Shopping Center on the east side of La Grange Road with the Downtown Orland Park being developed within the Main Street Triangle TIF district on the west side of La Grange.
“It really connects the bike trail network on the eastern part of Orland with all of the thousands and thousands of acres in Oak Forest and Tinley Park and others with the western part of Orland,” Grimes said. “I could ride my bike from my home to the office much more easily when it opens. And we think that the additional activation of the downtown area is terrific.”
The idea of building this bridge came about in 2004 and the village set aside $500,000 for it.
Grimes said the village received a little more than $1 million in grant money and was going to start work on it but in 2010, IDOT received funding to replace the Metra bridge next to the proposed site of the pedestrian bridge and the village turned over the grant money to IDOT, which took the lead on the project.
In 2012, the village announced in some of its literature to the public that it would open last July.
“That was the plan but they had to do the other work on the Metra bridge,” Grimes said. “When we assigned it over to IDOT, we lost control but that was a tradeoff we were willing to do because we saved several hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction.”
n In other village news, Mayor Dan McLaughlin said that media reports of 94 West Steak and Seafood Owner Bryan Sord’s financial troubles with his other restaurants has no bearing on the stability of the Orland Park eatery.
“There’s been some mixup about his 94 West restaurant and his restaurant in Tinley Park [the Charley Horse] having problems,” McLaughlin said. “There were some pictures in the press apparently of 94 West. He said he lost some bookings and business with people thinking he is out of business or going out of business.
“We want all our businesses to be successful. He’s planning on celebrating his 10th anniversary in 94 West. He’s taking a hit on the misconceptions of what restaurants are in trouble.”