Jefferson Street Pedestrian Bridge is open

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 5:21 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A major pathway connecting Rockford’s East and West side. The Jefferson Street Pedestrian Bridge is officially back in business after nearly five years.

“In running for alderman one of my platforms was to make Rockford a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly city,” said Chad Tuneberg, 3rd Ward Alderperson.

Tuneberg says this bridge is a big win for Rockford and the hundreds of residents who’ve reached out to him over the years.

“I ran into a neighbor on my way down here just a few minutes ago and she wanted to say how ecstatic she is that it is opening and she is one of many,” Tuneberg said.

Safety concerns shut down the bridge in November of 2015. Then the Rockford Park District was awarded a $2 million grant through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant.

“It provides funding for community-based projects that expand travel choices and expand to enhance transportation experience,” said Shawn Ortgiesen, IDOT local roads field liaison engineer.

The updates include a painted structure that can withstand extreme weather conditions and lights that string across the bridge. Park district leaders say this project couldn’t have been completed without the help of the Region 1 Planning Council.

“Nighttime residents are moving around downtown and how many more residents and customers are not using the vehicle but using other ways to move around. We are very proud to have been a part of this,” said Michael Dunn, R1PC executive director.

The Rockford Park District also invested $500,000 from its capital improvement funds to repair the bridge.

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