18th Street Bridge reopens after 4-month, $4.8 million upgrade project

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The 18th Street Bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River reopened Monday after four months and $4.8 million worth of upgrades.

The 48-year-old structure — known as a “movable bascule bridge” — was fully updated, including new roadway, sidewalk decks and railing; and repair of the truss, floor beams and lateral bracing, a statement from the mayor’s office said. The work also included upgrading the electrical system and navigational lighting.

The project was paid for using TIF funds as part of the Building a New Chicago campaign.

The bridge serves an important link on the Near South Side, and is expected to provide an important alternative to Roosevelt Road and Cermak Road during ongoing Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction, according to the mayor’s office.

“The 18th Street Bridge is an important piece of Chicago’s transportation network serving the South Loop, Chinatown and the near South Side,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said in the statement. “This project makes it possible for people and goods to move easily through these communities, and sets the stage for them to continue to thrive and grow.”

CDOT has started or completed nearly $650 million worth of bridge construction projects in the last four years, the statement said.

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