A pedestrian bridge will be built over Joliet Road to offer safe passage. It will be built roughly where the bus and truck are in this photo. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

A pedestrian bridge will be built over Joliet Road to offer safe passage. It will be built roughly where the bus and truck are in this photo. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Pedestrian bridge to cross busy intersection in Countryside

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By Steve Metsch

We all know you can get your kicks on Route 66.

But soon, thanks to $2.5 million grant from the state, you will get your kicks crossing over Route 66.

The historic highway – known as Joliet Road in Countryside – will be getting a pedestrian bridge at the intersection with Brainard Avenue.

City Administrator Gail Paul said money from the state – the city won’t be out a penny – will allow construction of a pedestrian bridge spanning Joliet Road on the east side of Brainard Avenue.

Plans call for the bridge to be built from the northeast corner of the intersection to the southeast corner.

“It will be completely ADA accessible. There’s going to be an elevator on each side,” Paul said of the bridge.

“If people are riding their bikes, they can take the elevator up, cross over and come back down (in the other elevator),” Paul said.

Anyone who has tried to cross Joliet Road on foot, on a bike, or even on rollerblades should be very happy.

That’s because when someone does try to cross, they have to be very careful of vehicles.

“It’s dangerous,” Paul said.

Three people have died at the intersection through the years, she said.

It’s no wonder she, Mayor Sean McDermott – an avid bicyclist – and other city officials are elated.

The city three years ago opened a bike path on the east side of Brainard that stretches from Plainfield Road to Joliet Road.

There are plans to add more bike paths in Countryside, including one on the west side of East Avenue.

“There are more bikes. You see a lot of people walking with their dogs and strollers,” Paul said.

Many bikers and hikers use that path down Brainard as it allows them to access the trails in the Arie Crown Forest located southeast of the intersection.

The forest has many trails where folks can ride bikes, jog and hike, along with a winding roadway.

City Engineer John Fitzgerald is working on the bridge design, Paul said. The Illinois Department of Transportation is in charge of the project because Joliet Road is a state road, she said.

“We’re also applying for lighting on Joliet Road because it’s so dark at night,” Paul added.

Paul looks forward to seeing a bridge that will span one of the famous roads in the world, noting we are nearing the 100th anniversary of Route 66.

“(The bridge) will provide a safe and attractive crossing of Joliet Road and provide a beautiful view of the Chicago skyline,” she said.

Paul hopes construction will begin in the summer of 2024, adding: “We’d like it done for the Route 66 Centennial in 2026.”

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