The end is a few years away...
Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated with the Oak Street bridge in Hinsdale, Illinois. It’s so old and full of character, and I remember walking over it as a little kid looking for trains below. After seeing signs erected recently saying the bridge is closed to pedestrian traffic, I did a little searching to see what kind of info I could come up with. Are the bridge’s days finally coming to an end?
The one lane bridge that spans over the BNSF Railway stands on the site where a foot bridge first was erected around 1885, and was improved throughout the years. It was built to its current standards more than 60 years ago. It has a five-ton weight limit, and standard today is more like 20 tons. Improvements are needed to bring it up to modern standards because the Hinsdale Fire Department avoids using the bridge because of its current condition. Last year, the village took over jurisdiction of the bridge from Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, and announced plans to rebuild the bridge to make it more accessible to vehicular traffic, particularly emergency vehicles. Hinsdale officials recently learned the village is in line for a $10 million state grant to fund its construction. Engineering should take about nine months, and once completed, the village would then move into more detailed plans. Construction likely would not begin until at least 2012. The plan cleared another hurdle this year when the Village Board approved an agreement with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to convey the bridge to the village. “It was evident the railroad had no intention of repairing or replacing the bridge, and the Oak Street Bridge is vital to the village,” said Village President Tom Cauley.
So there you have it… the end is near for this old bridge, but it appears it is still a few years away.