Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today welcomed Vice President Kamala Harris to Chicago to announce $144 million in federal funding awarded to the City of Chicago to rehabilitate the Illinois International Port Calumet River Bridges. The grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Bridge Investment Program, which was created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will fund the major rehabilitation of four bascule bridges over the Calumet River that are vital to the local community, region, and nation.
“It is my honor for Chicago to be one of the first grant recipients of the new Bridge Investment Program’s Large Bridge Project Grants,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “These bridges are an important part of our City’s history, and they must be modernized to ensure they can meet the demands of the future. Thank you to the Biden-Harris Administration and the federal delegation for helping to make this project a reality through grant funding and for creating the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that makes developments like these possible across the country.”
“The benefits of rehabbing the four aging Calumet Bridges are wide-ranging for the entire region and surrounding areas,” said Durbin. “These bridges connect our communities, get residents where they need to go and keep cargo moving through the Illinois International Port. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Illinois delegation to make these significant federal investments possible.”
“I am so proud that Congress and the Biden Administration worked to deliver the Infrastructure and Jobs Act that will preserve and protect the Calumet River Bridges. These bridges are vital to connect our communities and support our local economy,” said U.S. Representative Robin Kelly. “Infrastructure like the Calumet River Bridges is the fundamental foundation that makes our communities strong. Not only will the maintenance of these bridges preserve jobs, the rehabilitation project will create jobs in communities that have faced disinvestment historically. I am thrilled that this much-needed funding is being delivered to Illinois so that our local communities can continue to thrive.”
“Whether dropping their kids off at school, commuting to work or simply going out for groceries, countless Chicagoans rely on Calumet River bridges in one way or another,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). “I’m proud to help announce this significant infusion of federal support to rehabilitate these important bridges, improve traffic efficiency within the city, and ensure that Illinoisans can continue to easily and safely traverse our city for many years to come.”
This funding will support the rehabilitation of four historic bridges: the 92nd Street/Ewing Avenue Bridge, 95th Street Bridge, 100th Street Bridge, and 106th Street Bridge. These bridges are critical components of the Illinois International Port, which is an international hub, and the Illinois Waterway, allowing freight access via the waterways between Lake Michigan and the Gulf of Mexico. The bridges also function as an interconnected network, providing access to crucial industries and local jobs, and economic stability in the underserved South Chicago and Calumet areas.
Each bridge lifts an average of 5,000 times per year, providing continuous and safe access for marine traffic to and from the Port and surrounding industrial uses. Their rehabilitation is critical to maintaining the industrial road and water traffic supporting our nation’s economy. The bridges carry a combined average of over 40,000 vehicles per day, 3,000 of which are trucks. Freight access along the Illinois Waterway also provides a vital connection to the Port and local industries, supporting economic strength.
As part of the bridge rehabilitation, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure will also be upgraded to improve multimodal safety and connectivity. Sidewalk network improvements are planned, including the installation of nearly 3,000 feet of new sidewalk to close gaps on each side of the 100th Street bridge. Additionally, bike lanes will be installed across all of the bridges
Today’s announcement is part of more than $2 billion in investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to upgrade economically significant bridges across the country. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Bridge Investment Program will make the single largest dedicated investment in bridges — $12.5 billion over five years, with nearly $2.4 billion available in Fiscal Year 2022 — since the construction of the Interstate highway system.